Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Saturday, September 24 is National Public Lands Day, a day to celebrate the natural beauty and bounty of millions of acres of our nation’s public lands. While taking a hike, planning a cycling trip, or just packing in a picnic to national forest or grasslands is a great way to spend the day, doing something to show you support stewardship of the land is another way to mark the day.

The Recreation in Balance (RIB) task force identified camping and recreation locations (in blue) throughout the county. (Per Envision Chaffee County)

If you’re looking for ways to get more involved with public land stewardship, there are at least two ways — one immediate, the other longer-term:

  • You can join GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association), Chaffee Rec Adopters, and the BLM & Forest Service for a National Public Lands Day event from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. September 24 as they clean up along CR 250, the road to the base of Mt. Shavano. This is the most popular camping area in the BLM Royal Gorge Field Office’s jurisdiction (which encompasses more than 600,000 acres).

Sign up to join the event here.

According to staff, they report counting more than 130 groups at a time camping on public lands accessed by CR 250 on busy days this summer.

“We greatly appreciate all the volunteers who care for public lands and are wiling to help keep this highly valued area clean,” says BLM’s Kalem Lenard.

  • You can volunteer as a Chaffee Rec Adopter. This program is enlisting the help of volunteers to ensure public land camping areas are clean and well-kept. According to Envision Chaffee County,

Chaffee Rec Adopters Program Manager Joe Greiner measures the perimeter of a campsite in the Fooses Creek drainage using the Campsite Collector App created for volunteer stewardship work and public lands management planning under the Chaffee County Outdoor Recreation Management Plan

“If a visitor arrives at a clean, well-maintained area, they are more apt to help keep it that way.”

The program is in its second year and is a collaboration of GARNA, and Envision Chaffee County in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and Colorado State Land Board.

It is funded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Chaffee Common Ground.

The goals of the program are to effectively steward the use of our outdoor resources and create a collaborative culture around managing recreation use to keep our county’s public lands clean, fun, and wild, now and into the future.

Rec Adopters function as the eyes and ears of the program, record information on a mobile app to help clean up, ensure safe campfires, and steward trails.

Featured image: This campsite in the Chubb Park area of Fourmile Recreation Area displays the site destruction and an unsafe fire pit. Courtesy photo.