Call of the wild

Call of the wild

50 years of wilderness and counting
High in the Weminuche Wilderness, a backpacker surveys upper Elk Creek and the Grenadiers, including Vestal Peak, left, and Arrow Peak, right. Wilderness travel is by foot or stock animal only, offering visitors a respite from the modern world.
The Needle Creek Trail heads into the popular Chicago Basin area of the Weminuche Wilderness. U.S. Forest Service wilderness rangers and San Juan Mountains Association volunteers patrol the area to help visitors practice leave-no-trace ethics to limit their impacts on the fragile alpine environment.
El Dorado Lake is perched above timberline at the top of the Elk Creek drainage in the Weminuche Wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service samples water quality in several wilderness alpine lakes to monitor impacts from acid rain and other depositions.
Needle Creek drains the Chicago Basin, where Forest Service restrictions prohibit camping within 100 feet of water sources to protect water quality. Runoff from high-elevation wilderness sustains downstream rivers that support fisheries and riparian vegetation, community domestic water and irrigation supplies and tourism.

Call of the wild

High in the Weminuche Wilderness, a backpacker surveys upper Elk Creek and the Grenadiers, including Vestal Peak, left, and Arrow Peak, right. Wilderness travel is by foot or stock animal only, offering visitors a respite from the modern world.
The Needle Creek Trail heads into the popular Chicago Basin area of the Weminuche Wilderness. U.S. Forest Service wilderness rangers and San Juan Mountains Association volunteers patrol the area to help visitors practice leave-no-trace ethics to limit their impacts on the fragile alpine environment.
El Dorado Lake is perched above timberline at the top of the Elk Creek drainage in the Weminuche Wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service samples water quality in several wilderness alpine lakes to monitor impacts from acid rain and other depositions.
Needle Creek drains the Chicago Basin, where Forest Service restrictions prohibit camping within 100 feet of water sources to protect water quality. Runoff from high-elevation wilderness sustains downstream rivers that support fisheries and riparian vegetation, community domestic water and irrigation supplies and tourism.
Walk for wilderness

America’s Wilderness Act became law 50 years ago this month. To celebrate, the San Juan National Forest has joined with the local community to hold the Walk for Wilderness and Family Fun Fair on Sept. 27 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
The wilderness walk will begin at 9 a.m. and follow the Animas River Trail to Rotary Park and loop back to the fairgrounds. Participants will receive a commemorative pin and branded wood chip. There is no need to register in advance.
Family Fun Fair booths and activities will begin at 10:30 a.m., with music provided by the San Juan String Band. Activities will include a Kids Education Corner, demonstrations of stock packing and primitive tool use, backcountry gear, low-impact river camping and Dutch-oven cooking techniques. A wilderness backcountry cooking contest also will be held.
The walk and activities are free, and food and beverages will be on sale. For more information, call Kathe Hayes at 385-1310.

Pagosa Springs Events

The Pagosa Ranger District is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Champions of Wilderness: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday near Teal Campground. The vision and words of wilderness advocates such as Aldo Leopold, Arthur Carhart and Howard Zahniser will be celebrated. Directions: From Pagosa Springs, travel 2 miles west on U.S. 160, then turn northwest on Forest Service Road 631 (Piedra Road) for 22 miles. Turn north on Forest Service Road 640 and go 1 mile to the campground entrance. Teal Campground is 1 mile north of Williams Creek Campground. Drive through the Teal Campground to the boat ramp, which will be on your right and visible from the road.
Forever Wild Library Display: The Pagosa Ranger District will have a display table at the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library through the end of September featuring information about the “Wild 4” (wilderness areas) of the San Juan National Forest.

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