National Public Lands Day
Brink Messick, CMC Conservation Outreach and Project Manager
“I have purposely presented the land ethic as a product of social evolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written’… It evolves in the minds of a thinking community.” –Aldo Leopold
On Saturday, September 22, 2018, hundreds of thousands of individuals will come together as a community of stewards in recognition of National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Projects and outings in celebration of our public lands will take place all over the country in an effort to improve, repair, and restore the natural resources on the lands and open spaces that belong to us all. The Colorado Mountain Club will partner with the Royal Gorge Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and the Buena Vista Single Track Coalition to host a volunteer trail construction project on NPLD that will improve access to non-motorized recreation on public lands near the town of Buena Vista.
I appreciate NPLD not only for the physical work and tangible results accomplished at the end of the day, but also for the camaraderie and community that is fostered by working towards a common goal. As an advocate and recreationist, a growing and ever-present concern of mine is tied to user conflict, competition for limited resources, and even identity. During volunteer projects—like those that take place during NPLD—mountain bikers join dog walkers, who join trail runners, who join bird watchers, who join visitors to the area who may never actually get to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and all of these groups collaborate as stewards on common ground. As emphasized in Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, “Good fences make good neighbors,” a phrase which could be easily adapted to, “good trails make good stewards.” I believe that through stewardship work, we reach a realization that the places we love cannot maintain on their own, and it is up to us to be advocates for responsible use and to be more responsible users ourselves.
Join us in Buena Vista on September 22 to help improve the access to our public lands on National Public Lands Day. We have set a fairly ambitious goal to complete a shorter connector trail that will replace an unsustainable, undesignated trail with a carefully designed route that improves the sustainability and overall user experience of a popular and accessible trail system. No experience is necessary and lunch is provided, click here for more information and to register.
If you cannot join us in Buena Vista, visit https://www.neefusa.org/npld for more info on National Public Lands Day and a complete list of projects and events.