Yampatika encourages visitors and locals to take advantage of summer programming | SteamboatToday.com

Yampatika encourages visitors and locals to take advantage of summer programming

Mike Loots and Julia Franz lead a group of 12- to 15-year-old Yampatika campers on a 25-mile trek from Dumont Lake to Summit Lake in 2018.
Yampatika/Courtesy photo

While many people in Steamboat love to get outside, Yampatika seeks to bring it to the next level with its summer programming, according to Lexi Stine, director of adult programs for the nonprofit.

Between weekly educational activities and in-depth workshops, Yampatika has many opportunities to learn about the environment in the Yampa Valley throughout the summer and into the fall.

There will be a Medicinal Herb Walk with Mary O’Brien July 22. Advanced registration is required and costs $25.

“She is an absolute expert in medicinal herbs and plants in the Yampa Valley, so she’s really a great person to follow around,” Stine said. “That’s her last tour that’s a medicinal herb hike this summer.”

There is additional weekly and monthly programming available to visitors and tourists alike, Stine explained. One such event is Yampatika’s #GetOutside photography hikes, with the next one coming up on July 21 with Chris Becea.

Stine mentioned that any level of experience and any kind of camera, from a phone camera to digital equipment, is welcome.

“He’s a professional photographer here in town, so he helps people out with their cameras, helps you think about your subjects,” Stine explained. “For July, we’re hoping for peak flower season.”

She added that for photography hikes in the fall, they are hoping to capture vibrant colors from autumn leaves.

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In terms of weekly hikes and learning opportunities, folks can sign up for the Naturalists at Fish Creek Falls walk, with the next one coming up at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 15, starting at the upper parking lot. The walk takes place Friday through Monday through September 5.

Wildflower Wanders is another weekly event where participants can learn about local flora on a hike. The next Wildflower Wander will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 18. The Yampa River Walk also gives attendees a look at the ecology of the river, and will happen Tuesday, July 19.

All of these weekly events are free, and while most do not require registration, Wildflower Wanders locations vary and require pre-registration.

Stine added that with the pandemic, Yampatika saw an uptick in program engagement as people sought ways to be active with others in ways that were outdoors or made it easy to social distance.

“We were actually one of the few things that people could do that was all outdoors,” she said. “So, we were slammed, more popular than ever since COVID.”

Stine also emphasized that these tours and programs are not exclusive to visitors

“It’s nice to see locals on these tours too, because what we do isn’t just for tourists,” she said.

Stine explained that it can be especially meaningful to learn about the plants and ecological systems that you see every day, and that the knowledge gained from these experiences can stick with you.

“Locals come on down,” she said.

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