Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Trace: ASAP

Dateline: Alamosa, CO
The Colorado Tour

Adams State College has a terrific outdoor adventure program and is in the process of growing an academic minor in Outdoor Leadership. Located on the Rio Grande River with the San Juan Mountains to the west and Sangre De Cristo range to the north and east, the school is certainly well positioned for a wide variety of year-round adventure sports activities. 

Leave No Trace ASAP 
Our afternoon of campus outreach (we were in a high profile site next to the student center) was followed by an evening of training with staff and students of the Adams State Adventure Program (ASAP). Our workshop also included several folks from the Alamosa community... all told, it was an eager, engaged group of outdoor leaders.

...along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Colorado Tour Photo of the Week

Dateline: Ridgway, CO
The Colorado Tour

After the Rain at Ridgway State Park

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hawk's Eye View

Dateline: Telluride, CO
The Colorado Tour

Take a hawk’s eye view... that’s what the four 4th grade classes at Telluride Elementary School do every year to study natural and cultural history of their hometown located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.  Students and teachers will soon hike the popular Jud Wiebe (“wee-bee”) Trail in the Uncompahgre National Forest just as we did on a recent Sunday afternoon. Beginning at the eastern edge of Telluride, the trail climbs up sharply through aspen and spruce glades to a high alpine meadow perched over 1200 feet above the valley floor. At this height, the students will be able to clearly distinguish the U-shape of the glacially formed Telluride Valley with its hanging side valleys and waterfalls. And, they will look down on the 19th Century mining town of Telluride and see the history of its development literally unfolding before their eyes. It’s a great perspective to experience and remember...
Courtney Childe, 4th grade teacher and Leave No Trace practitioner, invited us to talk to the students about principles of outdoor ethics and planning ahead to make choices that minimize their impact on the Jud Wiebe Trail, as well as in all of their outdoor adventures.
…soaring above the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

High Times at Ridgway High

Dateline: Ridgway, CO
The Colorado Tour

Every afternoon when the students at Ridgway High School head out through the main doors of the school they take in a sweeping view of the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness Area, comprised of over a dozen craggy 13,000+ footers that surround the pre-eminent Mt. Sneffels at 14,150 feet. Now, that’s a “Wow” factor for sure to take your breath away, and it’s the sustenance of a fundamental appetite for outdoor adventure.

At Ridgway High, we met with two Outdoor Education classes and came away inspired by the students thoughtfulness and their inbred appreciation for a magnificent mountain landscape that they clearly don’t take for granted. In the midst of so much natural splendor, we were particularly impressed with the student’s awareness of the fragile and irreplaceable archaeological sites in the region, and how highly they value the cultural heritage in southwestern Colorado.

… along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Photo of the Week 9.26.11

Balanced Rock. Devil's Lake State Park, WI.
Mark and Tara

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twin Cities Backyard Session, MN

After a morning of service on National Public Lands Day, volunteers joined the e-tour and our Minnesota State Advocate Rita Hussman to learn more about how they can practice Leave No Trace in their community.

Around 200 people participated in removing one of the most invasive species in Minnesota, Common buckthorn and planted acorns in hopes to restore the Oak Savanna within the park.

Thank you to all who came out! Your next challenge, share a Leave No Trace principle with a family member or friend.

Fall is here. Don't forget to layer up when you go outside and play.

Mark and Tara

Saturday, September 24, 2011

No Hitchhiking Allowed

Dateline: Hayden, CO
The Colorado Tour

It's little surprise that the invasion of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) is a major concern in Colorado’s lakes and waterways. These invasive species include non-native aquatic plants, animals, viruses, and pathogens that harm the native ecosystems and can have negative environmental and economic impacts on a massive scale. Zebra and quagga mussels are by far the worst of the ANS culprits, readily establishing a colony in lakes and waterways and capable of phenomenally rapid reproduction.

The outlook for ANS in Colorado is pretty dire, and public land managers are taking special precautions to guard against their spread. At Elkhead Reservoir in Yampa River State Park, we watched a ranger carefully inspect a visitor’s boat and trailer for the telltale signs of an ANS hitchhiker… It’s a clear case of the need to leave what you find where you find it! Our lakes and waterways can only be protected through every user’s awareness, education, vigilance, and good stewardship. Don’t let ANS be an unwelcome hitchhiker on your next outdoor adventure!

… along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tales Told – Lessons Learned?

Dateline: Craig, CO
The Colorado Tour

We setup our camp at Yampa River State Park in the northwestern reaches of the state this week. This section of the Yampa River is an area of riparian meadows and forest bordered by sagebrush uplands, and is understandably rich in wildlife. To our pleasant surprise, we were awakened in the pre-dawn of each morning by the chortling noises made by migratory flocks Sandhill cranes. As a river corridor in an otherwise sparse, arid landscape, the park is very popular with fisherman, boaters, and birders.

During our stay we visited classes at both East Elementary and Sunset Elementary in the Moffat County School District, where we helped an active gaggle of 5th graders plan ahead and prepare for an upcoming outdoor adventure. The group was gearing up for their own campout a few weeks hence at Yampa River State Park. We asked them to recall family outing experiences that were made particularly memorable by some oversight in trip planning, packing, unexpected change in the weather, wildlife encounter, or similar unanticipated challenges. Just like the rest of us, the kids had many stories to tell about such experiences, some of them pretty funny, but all of them good lessons to be remembered. We left them with good wishes for a successfully planned and pleasantly memorable adventure along the beautiful Yampa.

… along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cuyuna Country

The e-tour spent the last few days in the Crosby and Ironton communities of central Minnesota. We visited the high school and elementary school for two full days of classroom workshops connecting with local youth. One of the groups we met with was the Service Adventure Leadership Team (SALT), a dedicated bunch of high school students who initiate and participate in everything from recycling programs to zip line outings. The SALT group has embraced the principles of Leave No Trace and fosters future outdoor awareness by teaching second grade students as part of their outreach and experiential learning. For more on SALT, check out their sister group's page here.

A special thanks to Ryan of Cycle Path and Paddle, who took the time to show us a few quintessential Cuyuna rides. A guided tour through the new IMBA trails served as excellent vehicle to experience the landscape and history of this reclaimed mining area. The e-tour was excited and impressed by the top notch biking so far from home.

One last shout out to our Minnesota Leave No Trace State Advocate Rita Hussman for her strong volunteer ethic and gracious hosting of the e-tour team. We greatly appreciated a warm bed and delicious home cooking. You spoiled us.

Mark and Tara

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Community Cool Idea

Ever wonder what's happening outside your car window as you zip around your community? Who grows those flowers that smell so good? What's the name of the artist who produces those vibrant sculptures out of what would be landfill material? If you live in Madison, WI you might just be able to answer some of these questions for yourself by moving a little slower. The e-tour travels with bicycles and always relishes the chance to run errands via human power. We saw this Madison B-cycle sharing program and thought some of you might dig it. For a small yearly fee you can share a bike, without the hassle of lugging it up to your third floor flat. Check out their website here. Maybe write your city planner, mayor, or whoever to get the ball rolling in your area. Otherwise, use pedal power when you can. Save carbon, build muscle:)

Mark and Tara

Monday, September 19, 2011

The North Face Endurance Challenge: Madison, WI

The e-tour joined their title partner The North Face at another installment of their trail running race series at Kettle Moraine South State Park this weekend. Participants and families alike enjoyed knowing that the Leave No Trace mindset was pervasive at this event, helping keep the grounds litter free with easy to find trash and recycling bins inside the finish line festival village. Bigfoot even found his way out of the Northwoods to join Dean Karnazes in the Karno Kids Race, promoting an active youth culture.

Ready... Set... Leave No Trace!
Mark and Tara

Hands-On Learning at New Emerson

Dateline: Grand Junction, CO
The Colorado Tour
Curious minds and uninhibited enthusiasm greeted the Colorado Tour at Grand Junction’s New Emerson School.  We had a blast with students from kindergarten through fifth grade over the course of a full day of classroom visitations. The “Choose-the-Right-Path” savvy students taught us a catchy phrase when hiking in areas of the Colorado Plateau with super-sensitive cryptobiotic soils: “Don’t Bust the Crust!” In fact, it may take a lifetime for the crusty living soils to recover from one ill-placed step.

While at New Emerson, we also had an opportunity to visit the fascinating John McConnell Math and Science Center, where area students and families actively explore principles of science and engineering through hands-on encounters and experimentation; it was hard to pull Barrett away at the end of the day. We really appreciated the welcome provided by Principal Terry Schmalz and New Emerson's dedicated faculty.

…along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grand Times in Grand Junction

Dateline: Grand Junction, CO
The Colorado Tour

Colorado National Monument
We discovered that Grand Junction is not only a historic crossroads of commerce and trade, but also a contemporary center of outdoor recreation. Ready access to river corridors and lakes, high desert and open prairie, and forested mountain wilderness position Grand Junction as a multi-season, multi-sport hub for the outdoor enthusiast. Consequently, it was a busy couple of days indeed for the Colorado Tour in the Grand Junction area. Outreach efforts took us to the Island Acres and Fruita Sections of James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park, along with an obligatory pilgrimage to Colorado National Monument. Awesome! We also made an evening presentation to an experienced audience of hikers and climbers at a meeting of the Colorado Mountain Club – Western Slope, who shared their best-not-forgotten tales of Leave No Trace-related experiences.

…along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Friday, September 16, 2011

SOS for Youth

Dateline: Frisco, CO
The Colorado Tour

SOS Outreach is a dynamic international recreation program whose objective is to build character in youth (courage, wisdom, discipline, compassion and integrity) through outdoor adventure. A diverse cohort of SOS youth leaders gathered with us on a drizzly afternoon at the Frisco Community Center for Leave No Trace training. The group came together from all around the country to work with SOS, many of them as AmeriCorps volunteers. We especially felt kinship with those who, like us, had just arrived in Colorado to begin an exciting new chapter in their lives as trainers, educators, and mentors.  It was great to work with this experienced, thoughtful bunch of leaders, and we had energetic discussions about Leave No Trace principles from bonfires to bear canisters, and cat-holes to Biffy Bags. Thanks to Mikayla and Teresa from the Frisco Office of SOS Outreach for their efforts in organizing the session.

…along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tune-In to "The Resource"

Dateline: Vail, CO
The Colorado Tour

Two high school students at the Vail Mountain School entertained a lunchtime gathering of students, teachers, and ourselves with their extemporaneous acting skills in a mock encounter of two hikers, each accompanied by their dog. One hiked with his dog on-leash, the other one traveled with faithful pup off-leash. The students practiced using "Authority of the Resource" as a strategy for teaching about negative impacts through a dialogue based on a common appreciation for the out-of-doors.

...along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Four R's

Recently in Rhinelander, WI we learned of one of Bigfoot's buddies, the nefarious 'Hodag'. Rhinelander is the epicenter for sightings of this Northwoods legend. We found a whimsical representation outside of the town library, with a cool twist. On the bottom of the sculpture made from recycled glass we found a homage to the three R's: Rhiduce, Rhiuse and Rhicycle. When we speak about these great ideas, we always include a fourth R. Refuse. When you're walking down the street people might try and introduce you to an event by way of a paper flier. You can always read it, then give it back. You can take a picture with your smartphone. These ways of refusing prolong the life of that item just a bit longer before it enters the garbage stream. Refuse is often a hard one. In our culture we love free stuff, sometimes if we don't even need it. It might be a flier, plastic silverware, ketchup packets, extra napkins, plastic bags, etc. You'll often find that these items are usually single use or disposable anyway. Say it loud, say it proud! "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse!"

Happy Hodag Hunting:)
Mark and Tara

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo of the Week 9.12.11

Swimming at sunset. Lake Marion, Ottawa National Forest.

Mark and Tara

Immoderate Love in the White River National Forest

Dateline: Vail, CO

The extended Labor Day weekend saw the Colorado Tour working the crowds at popular White River National Forest trailheads in the Vail vicinity. At Gore Creek and Booth Falls Trails, we encountered passels of holiday hikers, many of whom were accompanied by their faithful dogs. 

These are indeed beautiful places, but sadly, the oft-traveled trails are suffering the unfortunate impacts of intensive, immoderate love (social trails, erosion, illegal campsites and fire pits, dogs off-leash, etc.). Happily, we met many well-intentioned trail-lovers, and each day provided ample opportunity for friendly dialogue about trail etiquette, ethics, and stewardship.

More than 250 folks received Leave No Trace cards and stickers, including numerous bicyclers who stopped at our Gore Creek hospitality tent for a shady breather and Clif Bar energizer as they rode the popular Vail Pass Bike Path.

…along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Small Craft Advisory! :

The e-tour has been camping around the watery, green Northwoods of Wisconsin and Michigan this past week where the lack of internet has undoubtedly saddened our faithful blog-o-philes:). The bounty of crisp, clean water around has afforded us some great swimming, frog watching, and the occasional evening serenade by a solitary Loon.

The e-tour Subaru, which we refer affectionately to as 'Big Blue', is packed to the gills with educational materials, camping gear, bike stuff and the rest of our household needs. What we're getting at is that we have been craving some sort of watercraft, and found a solution that takes up no extra space. Now, if you have no backup, or no patch kit, we don't recommend using your inflatable sleeping pad as a boat. However, we had a pretty fun time of it here on Perch Lake in the Chequamegon National Forest. Things you should Know Before You Go... have a backup sleeping arrangement or patch kit, wear a leash on your sunglasses, and have a waterproof camera.

Enjoy the advent of Fall!
Mark and Tara

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Colorado Tour Heads into the Rockies

Dateline: Eagle, CO

The Colorado Tour visited Sylvan Lake State Park on Friday and Saturday of the Labor Day Weekend. The park is located in a beautiful remote valley that reaches deep into the heart of the Rockies. It is especially popular as a fishing destination for both day-trippers and overnight campers.

A refreshing rainstorm on Friday night sweetened the dry Colorado air and Saturday dawned fresh and clear. Our outreach booth overlooking the idyllic mountain lake attracted a steady stream of curious hikers and fishermen.

We spent a full day playing the Leave No Trace Quiz for Clif Bar prizes, and swapping tales about outdoor experiences and the ones that got away...

...along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Colorado Tour hits the trail with Mountain Bikers in Lyons, Colorado

The Colorado Tour got rolling on August 30 with a program for the Lyons High School Mountain Biking Club. A cohort of 26 students and teachers braved a tempestuous Colorado rain shower to hear the Leave No Trace message and participate in the inaugural running of the Leave No Trace mountain bike relay.

Two teams competed on the ½ mile course which tested their skills for spotting and collecting trash on the trail, proper yielding to hikers and other mountain bikers, and cat hole techniques and practices. It was, of course, a memorable afternoon and a terrific way to begin the Colorado Tour. Many thanks to our host, Pat Bacalis, of Lyons Middle and High School.

...riding along the Colorado Trail,
Peggy and Barrett

Friday, September 2, 2011

Got Labor Day Plans?

The e-tour will be spending the Labor Day holiday with fellow campers at O'Connell's Jellystone Park and Camp Resort in Amboy, Illinois. We are excited for a weekend of entertainment, education, outreach, and all things Leave No Trace.

Always looking for an excuse to use our trusty America the Beautiful annual pass, the e-tour took in the sights at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial at the riverfront in St.Louis, MO.

Go play outside this weekend; safely and responsibly for yourself, and the environment.

Mark and Tara

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A send-off for youth education

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is excited to send off the first-ever Leave No Trace Colorado Tour on September 2nd. The Colorado Tour program will reach a diverse group of young people to encourage outdoor recreation and, most importantly, teach them how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Over the next several weeks the Colorado Tour will run 20 educational events training for over 2,000 kids in Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics, leaving more than 100,000 impressions on the future stewards of our public lands.

We launched this tour in order to connect an age group with the great outdoors at a time when they need it most. Research indicates that a child who is exposed to outdoor activities and is taught to care for the outdoors at a young age will retain those values throughout their lifetime.

Our Colorado Tour Team happens to be two very experienced individuals. Barrett Kennedy and Peggy Reily are back for their second year with Leave No Trace. In 2010 Barrett and Peggy spent 4 months on the road as the e-tour team traveling through 21 states conducting over 50 workshops to more than 15,000 individuals.

This fall Barrett and Peggy will be running several types of educational sessions including:

· Kids Clinics to teach youth through discussion, activities, skits and slideshows

· Campfire Talks at state and national parks designed to get kids learning about environmental issues in a social setting

· Service projects such as clean ups in local parks, as well as working with youth at local nature centers, boys and girls clubs, and other after school youth programs

· “Train the Trainer” style workshops designed for teachers, guides, agency employees, youth serving organizations and a variety of other outdoor leaders and educators

Special thanks goes to Xcel Energy, New Belgium Brewing Company and Leave No Trace members for providing the support of this traveling tour.

Check out the 2011 Colorado Tour Schedule-