Community Agricultural Alliance: Season’s greetings from Yampatika |

Community Agricultural Alliance: Season’s greetings from Yampatika

Community Ag Alliance

On behalf of our board of directors, staff and volunteers, season’s greetings from Yampatika as we begin this holiday weekend.

As the new executive director for Yampatika, my family and I will be celebrating our first Christmas in the Yampa Valley. I continue to appreciate the wonderful generosity of all individuals in this valley. Whether you are a business person, teacher, farmer, rancher, stay-at-home parent, the word “community” has a truly special meaning in the Yampa Valley. As the winter season kicks into high gear with lots of great activities, don’t forget to take the time to appreciate the amazing environment we all share.

Last Friday, I went snowshoeing for the first time. It was Yampatika’s weekly Uranium Mine Snowshoe Tour at Fish Creek Falls, our first one of the season. The weather, you may recall, was a bit creative that morning. There was a bit of snow, rain, sleet and grapple — most of it, at the same time. This 5-mile hike is technically an out-and-back but is much more than a snowshoe to a mine and back.

Thanks to longtime Yampatika senior naturalist Karen Vail, it was much more We learned a bit of history and geology regarding the Fish Creek Falls area, and we learned about local flora and fauna most commonly seen in that area.

During the hike, our group got to see a family of moose, both from afar and closer than we expected. Luckily, when we discovered them on the trail, we were able to find a way around them so we didn’t bother them while they were eating. We also stopped at a location called the “Aspen Cathedral” that was a spiritual bit of nature.

By the end, I was cold and wet and tired, but, I was very happy I had done it. It was three hours I will remember the rest of my life.

During this busy holiday season of shopping, eating, visiting family and friends, parties and other year-end craziness, I encourage you to take the time to appreciate what’s around you. A great way is to go on a Yampatika program. Programs such as Ski With A Naturalist, Uranium Mine Snowshoe Hike or Emerald Mountain Moonlight Snowshoe Hike are a great way to experience nature and refocus your energy. In addition, we can create a private tour specific to all your needs.

Check out Yampatika’s website at for the latest program information, or call our office at 970-871-9151 and talk to one of our naturalists about setting up a program for you and your family.

Whatever you choose to do with your time this holiday season, I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy our amazing valley with family and friends.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Joe Haines is executive director of Yampatika.

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