Community Agricultural Alliance: Preparing for a successful seasonal transition
March 29, 2018
With winter fun quickly coming to an end, many people are already thinking about spring time in the Rockies and everything associated with getting ready for a successful transition into spring and summer.
For farmers and ranchers, it's preparing for spring crops and baby calves. For many, it's getting their own gardens and lawns ready for growth. For others, it's getting the camping gear out of storage and making sure bikes are ready when the trails are dry enough.
And then of course, there is the exciting search for this year's earliest crane sighting.
At Yampatika, we go through a similar transition. Our public snowshoe and ski programs have ended for the season and school programs will soon go on spring break for a few weeks. However, there is no lull for Yampatika staff.
We are deep into planning for International Migratory Bird Day on May 5. Registration is open for summer day camp, and an open house for camp will be May 6 at Legacy Ranch. In addition, our 19th Annual Wild Edible Feast is set for June 7. Summer programs are being finalized and should be up on our website in the next couple of weeks.
As we prepare for the upcoming season of activities, it is timely and important to be aware of the environment and our impact. This season's lower snow pack will have an impact, not just on the level of the river but also, on the chance for wild fires. It will be through our own hard work and due diligence, supported by the U.S. Forest Service that we can hope to have a quiet fire season.
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We also have an impact on other users and their enjoyment of the outdoors. Consider, for example, this story from last year's summer camp. At the end of summer, we take older campers on a weeklong backpacking trip along the Continental Divide Trail. One of the lessons taught is the importance of Leave No Trace.
On their fourth day of backpacking, the group experienced a site impacted severely by those who were not following LNT ethics. A newly rutted tire track dug its way deep into a healthy alpine meadow. A massive log still smoldered in a freshly dug fire pit, ringed with bottles, cans and other camp trash. The scene was truly shocking to youth who had spent days carrying out even their micro-trash while avoiding impacting the land as a first priority.
The staff and campers stayed to clean up the site and properly put out the fire before moving on. Staff and campers, unexpectedly, got to see the impact when people aren't good or responsible environmental stewards.
Luckily, that's where the story ends for this incident. Let's hope your personal environmental stewardship is more responsible and positive than what our campers experienced.
For more information about Yampatika's upcoming programs and events, visit yampatika.org.
Lastly, Yampatika would be remiss if we didn't end this column without recognizing retiring, Community Agricultural Alliance Executive Director Marsha Daughenbaugh. For many years, she has been a leader for ranching, agriculture and the environment in the Yampa Valley. We all salute your leadership and wish you all the best. Thank you, Marsha, for being such a stellar environmental leader.
Joe Haines is the executive director of Yampatika.
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