Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day in Steamboat Springs with variety of events | SteamboatToday.com

Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day in Steamboat Springs with variety of events

Colorado landscape photographer John Fielder captures the headwaters of the Yampa River after the passage of a violent thunderstorm in late July 2014. Flat Top Mountain is in the background.

— This weekend, marvel in the grandeur of Colorado on May 20 as the first-ever Colorado Public Lands Day is celebrated statewide and locally.

Colorado became the first state to establish a holiday in recognition of public lands through a bill passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Going forward, the third Saturday in May will be known as Colorado Public Lands Day to celebrate what these lands provide to the state’s residents' heritage, identity and unique way of life.

"In the Yampa Valley, we are so lucky to be surrounded by these beautiful public lands, and sometimes, we take for granted that they will always be there," said Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones. "YVSC is participating in the Colorado Public Lands Day celebration to recognize the importance of our local public lands for a sustainable and resilient community."

According to the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, outdoor recreation on public lands in Northwest Colorado provides 91,000 jobs and $6.9 billion in consumer spending. In Routt County, 50 percent of land is publicly owned, and of those public lands, 90 percent is federally owned.

On May 9, Routt County commissioners signed a resolution stating the commissioners' opposition to "wholesale efforts to claim, take over, litigate for or sell off federal public lands within Routt County” and recognizing the value public lands brings to the community.

In celebration of Colorado Public Lands Days, here's a list of local events being held Saturday.

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Hike with the Sierra Club

2 p.m. | Blackmere Drive Trailhead on Emerald Mountain

Join the Trappers Lake group of the Sierra Club for a two- to three-mile, all-ages hike on city-owned property on Emerald Mountain. The hike will be led by Nils Thunström, an avid backpacker, hiker and self-proclaimed outdoorsman. Participants will learn about outdoor safety, clothing and emergency day-hike items. Contact nilseboy@me.com for more information.

Bird Walk

7:45 to 10:00 a.m. | The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch, 13250 U.S. Highway 40, Hayden

Join The Nature Conservancy for a two-hour guided bird walk along the Yampa River led by resident birding expert Nancy Merrill. Meet at The Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch visitor center at 7:45 a.m. for coffee and tea. Enjoy an easy walk through the unique cottonwood forest, home to over 150 species of migrating and nesting birds. Bring binoculars, wear sturdy shoes and weather appropriate clothing. Email bblakeslee@tnc.org or call 970-846-9102 for more information.

Routt County Clean-Up

8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. | Olympian Hall, 845 Howelsen Pkwy.

This community event kicks off with coffee and pastries. There is a free BBQ and prize giveaway for volunteers following the clean-up at 11:30 a.m. also at Olympian Hall. Register in advance with Routt County Environmental Health by emailing Heather Savalox at hsavalox@co.routt.co.us.

Ride the Cog

9:00 a.m. | Wild Goose Coffee, 198 E. Lincoln Ave., Hayden, CO 81639

The Ride the Cog fundraiser features the choice of three scenic rides — a paved/gravel 31-mile ride, a 28-mile mountain bike ride or a three-mile family fun ride. An after-ride party with lunch, live music and silent auction will be held at the Hayden Heritage Center Museum. Yampa River State Park will distribute maps showing some of the rides on public land in the area. Proceeds benefit the Hayden Heritage Museum. For more information or to purchase tickets online, go to http://www.haydenheritagecenter.org. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event at 9 a.m. at Wild Goose Coffee at 198 E. Lincoln Ave. in Hayden. Call the museum at 970-276-4380 or email haydenmuseum@zirkel.us for more information.

Stagecoach State Park BBQ and trash clean-up

1:00 p.m. | Arrowhead group picnic area, 25500 Routt County Road 14, Oak Creek

Stagecoach State Park is hosting a community barbecue and reservoir shoreline trash pick-up following its annual park orientation. The community barbecue will start at 1 p.m. at the Arrowhead group picnic area followed by the trash pick-up at 2 p.m. Participants are asked to RSVP for the barbecue by May 17 by calling 970-736-2436.

Yampa Valley Public Lands Day celebration and metworking

4:00 to 6:00 p.m. | Mountain Tap Brewery, 910 Yampa St., #103

After a day of exploring local public lands, the public is invited to enjoy craft brews and wood-fired pizza on the patio at Mountain Tap Brewery, which has brewed a new brew, called “Get Out!”, to celebrate public lands. State and local elected officials will speak the celebration. Several environmental groups will also have information tables at the event.