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Interview: “Lifting Voice from the Shadows” Oral History Project

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The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), nonprofit managing entity of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), is collaborating with the Northern Arapaho tribe, Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center, and the National Heritage Areas Program to compile stories from Northern Arapaho women.

PHA Executive Director, Kathleen Benedict, interviewed Yufna Soldier Wolf of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wind River, Wyoming, to introduce the project and discuss why it is important to record the stories of Northern Arapaho women.

The Northern Arapaho lived in the Cache la Poudre River basin for centuries before the United States military forcibly removed the tribe to Wyoming in the 1870s. It is vital that Northern Colorado communities learn the stories of the people whose historic and spiritual homeland is the Cache la Poudre River. Doing so can help people properly understand the complicated history and ecology of the region. The involved organizations hope that the “Lifting Voices from the Shadows” project will strengthen partnerships, build the PHA’s education and interpretation program, and connect people to their collective Poudre River heritage.

The project is funded by a $25,000 “Women in Parks Innovation and Impact” grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF). The goal of the grant “is to support projects and programs that help the NPS share a more comprehensive American narrative that includes the voices of women.” In particular, the initiative is meant to raise awareness of the 19th Amendment’s centennial this year and to “highlight stories of women who continue to shape the world.” However, as Benedict and Soldier Wolf discuss in the video, Indigenous women did not gain the right to vote in 1920. It was not until the Snyder Act passed in 1924 that Indigenous Americans earned their full U.S. citizenship, though some states continued to deny Indigenous Americans their enfranchisement as late as 1962.

The “Lifting Voices from the Shadows” project is an opportunity for Northern Arapaho women to share their personal experiences with voting and address contemporary issues in a respectful and professional context. Soldier Wolf believes this is the first opportunity that Northern Arapaho women have had to share their stories with the public. The PHA will record 8-12 women’s oral histories in the coming months. Thanks to the grant support, the organization will also create educational videos and interpretive materials, and share relevant content about the promises and failures of the 19th Amendment.

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is treasured by a community that values it for a variety of recreational activities and the tranquility of a natural corridor, while also depending on it as a water source for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses. A wide range of cultural perspectives form our rich Poudre River heritage. This project will help the PHA present creative and balanced interpretation representing the variety of cultures that make up our river corridor and helping citizens find a sense of place and continuity in a rapidly changing world.

To stay up-to-date on events and information related to this project please visit: https://poudreheritage.org/lifting-voices/

Guest Blog: PHA Grant Helps Give UNC Students Practical Skills & Experience in Water Quality Monitoring

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by Alexi Richmond, UNC Undergraduate in Earth Sciences (Class of 2020)

The opportunity to do field work in an undergrad degree is varied and not many students get to assist in research or field work unless it is a requirement of a class. I have been really fortunate to assist my professor this past year and help set up a baseline analysis for future long-term monitoring of the Poudre River in Greeley.

Through this I have learned more skills/practical experience than my whole undergraduate degree combined. I’ve gotten to use devices I never even thought of using such as an GPS, RTK, Flow Meter and of course processing data with Excel. I didn’t realize there was equipment that could calculate such things as measuring cross sections in not only latitude and longitude but as well as elevation so we could see a horizontal view. I also didn’t realize there was such a thing as a flow meter in which it measures the discharge of water; an entire volume of water that moves every second! In class, we had calculated relative discharge with a ping pong ball and a stopwatch and at the time I thought that was just how you took measurements but using the flow meter was a whole other story. It is so much more accurate and it calculates discharge for you which is amazing. It gave me a different perspective on water movement and I feel seeing and doing it first hand I understand the importance of the Poudre River better with how much discharge is even at low flow times.

Throughout this entire project I have come to better understand my local river system and its importance to Northern Colorado. Using equipment has also given me a new perspective through finding how much fun and important collecting data on major rivers can be; possibly giving me a new direction with my degree. I can’t express how grateful I feel to be able to gain skills and experience using real equipment while being able to participate in research, all in my undergrad degree.

River Bluffs Open Space in Windsor, CO is one of the study sites for the UNC Water Quality Monitoring Project on the Poudre River.

 

About the PHA Grant – “UNC Water Quality Monitoring Project”

The lower Poudre River has experienced long-term channel changes associated with land-use practices and flow regulation. At River Bluffs Open Space, Larimer County has partnered with the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed to hire Stillwater Sciences to restore a 5 km section of river reach. Goals include reconnecting the river with its floodplain and increasing disturbance, good for habitat development. At the Poudre Learning Center (PLC), the PLC has acquisitioned new land adjacent to the river. The PLC plans to use the property for research, education, outreach, and as community open space. PI and collaborators have installed water-quality monitoring equipment, including turbidity that measures water clarity―a proxy for fine sediment suspension―at each site. Comparing the dynamics of fine-sediment at these two sites provides the opportunity to link information about how two contrasting stream reaches are changing through time as a result of differential influences.

The project takes place at River Bluffs Open Space (Larimer County) and the Poudre Learning Center (Weld County). Fine-sediment dynamics influence channel adjustments that can cause flooding or harm aquatic habitat, and is therefore considered a pollutant under the US Clean Water Act. Project goals include 1) training students in water quality measurements and analysis; 2) establishing long-term monitoring stations at two contrasting Poudre River reaches; 3) using water-quality data to understand dynamics of fine sediment; 4) sharing data and results with stakeholders and the community to increase awareness of linkages between land-use/management and river health. This project contributes to PHA’s vision of placing our water management heritage in the context of current management challenges, including multiple stakeholders and uses.

To learn more about the Poudre Heritage Alliance Grant Program and grant award history please visit: https://poudreheritage.org/grant-award-history/

Play It Safe on the Poudre River!

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As the Colorado snowpack starts to melt and rivers and streams across the state begin to rise, its important to remember to Play It Safe on the Poudre!

The Cache la Poudre River offers many miles of incredible recreational opportunities – the scenic river runs from mild (class I-II) to wild (class V), attracting people from around the country to its beautiful waters. However, most people do not understand the dangers that exist while recreating on the river.

The Poudre River presents numerous hazards. Broken or low-hanging tree branches, hidden beneath the water, can snag a person out for a lazy afternoon tubing trip. Freezing waters made cold by spring runoff can cause a person to react slowly, when quicker action is needed, or possibly suffer hypothermia. And deceptively fast-moving waters pose a drowning risk to even the most experienced swimmers.

“The Poudre River is a source of local pride that draws thousands to its waters each year. We wouldn’t dissuade peoples’ love for it and what it represents. But the river is equal parts beautiful and destructive. Its power is easy to underestimate, and river-related tragedy can befall anyone at any time,” said former Poudre Fire Authority spokeswoman Madeline Noblett.

The Play It Safe on the Poudre program raises awareness about approaches to recreating on the river in safe and sustainable ways, and helps to build the capacity of the Poudre Fire Authority and Larimer County rescue teams. The program also calls attention to the history of in-river structures that represent hazards to recreation.

 

Play It Safe on the Poudre principles:

  1. Wear a life vest
    • Use proper floatation devices
    • Wear shoes
    • Wear a helmet
    • Don’t tie anything to yourself or your tubes
  2. Safe to go?
    • Know the weather and water conditions
    • The water is melted snow – it’s always cold!
    • Avoid rocks, branches, logs and debris in the river
  3. Know where you are
    • Take a map
    • Plan your take-out location before you get in the river
  4. Float sober, float safe
    • Alcohol and drugs impair judgement
  5. Be Courteous
    • Pack it in; Pack it out
    • Share the river
  6. What if you flip?
    • Don’t stand up in the river; avoid foot entrapment
    • Float on your back with feet pointing downstream and toes out of the water
    • Use your arms to paddle to shore

 

Download a River Access and Safety Map

Other representatives who have taken part in the group’s efforts represent: Poudre Fire Authority; multiple departments within the City of Fort Collins, including the city’s Natural Areas Department; Larimer County; the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Larimer County Emergency Services; Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and more.

For more info please visit www.poudreheritage.org/playitsafe

 

Colorado Heritage Areas Launch Virtual Heritage Journey

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During this unprecedented time in our Nation’s history, when over 250 million Americans, including the entire state of Colorado, are under stay-at-home and social distancing orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to offer you a way to continue to learn about and explore the State of Colorado’s National Heritage Areas from the safety and comfort of your home.

This week, working with our fellow Colorado Heritage Areas, we’re launching “Colorado’s Virtual Heritage Journey” on social media. Discover and experience Colorado’s culture, history, and recreational activities with high-quality, virtual resources provided by Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas – Cache la Poudre River, South Park, and Sangre de Cristo.

A National Heritage Area is a site where the historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to create a landscape of national importance. Its significance is like that of a national park, but these are largely lived-in landscapes. Of the 55 National Heritage Areas in the U.S., Colorado hosts three: Cache la Poudre River, South Park, and Sangre de Cristo. They boast the natural beauty, activities, and Western history Colorado is known for, while also representing Colorado’s many contributions to our nation’s diverse ancestry.

To join the virtual journey, follow #COVirtualHeritageJourney or look out for posts from the Colorado Heritage Areas on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Enjoy and stay well!

PHA Awarded Grants for Strategic Interpretive Planning & Oral History

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Photo credit: City of Fort Collins

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), nonprofit managing entity of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), has received two large grants to support their programs that promote historical and cultural opportunities, engage people in the Poudre River corridor, and inspire learning, preservation, and stewardship.

Through the Colorado the Beautiful Grant Program, administered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), PHA has been awarded $96,877 to complete a new Strategic Interpretive Plan for the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. Grant funds will be used to: 1) Update the original Feasibility Study and Resource Inventory completed in 1990; 2) Develop a Strategic Interpretive Plan to help CALA become more accessible to the public as a whole; 3) Provide visitors with a seamlessly integrated experience; and 4) Build partner capacity.

The PHA will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders throughout the strategic planning process, including partner sites, staff, user groups, neighbors, government agencies, towns and municipalities, community decision makers, and local businesses.

The PHA has also been awarded a $25,000 “Women in Parks Innovation and Impact” grant from the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Park Foundation (NPF). The goal of this grant “is to support projects and programs that help the NPS share a more comprehensive American narrative that includes the voices of women.” In particular, the initiative is meant to “increase awareness about the 19th Amendment’s centennial and highlight stories of women who continue to shape the world.”

Through their project, “Lifting Voices from the Shadows,” the PHA, Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center, the National Heritage Areas Program, and the Northern Arapaho Tribe will work together to compile stories from Northern Arapaho women that run in parallel with, or counter to, the Suffragette movement and modern society. Grant support from the Women in Parks grant will enable PHA to 1) record women’s oral histories; 2) create educational videos and interpretive videos; and 3) share relevant content that aligns with 19th Amendment milestones.

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is treasured by a community that values it for a variety of recreational activities and the tranquility of a natural corridor, while also depending on it as a water source for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses. A wide range of cultural perspectives form our rich Poudre River heritage. These grant funds will help the PHA present creative and balanced interpretation, representing the variety of cultures that make up our river corridor and helping citizens find a sense of place and continuity in a rapidly changing world.

For more information or questions please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath, Communications Coordinator, at communications@poudreheritage.org.

Support Poudre Pour Partners in the time of COVID-19

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With much sadness, we had to postpone our annual fundraiser, the Poudre Pour (scheduled for March 28, 2020), due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has now swept the globe. While disappointing, the health and safety of the public is most important. We are working to reschedule for this fall and will announce a new date soon.
What makes the Poudre Pour so special are the event’s beverage and food partners – 16 exceptional Northern Colorado brewers and distillers, the Human Bean, Morning Fresh Dairy, and Z Catering. Each of these partners agreed to donate time, energy and their craft beverages and food, giving every guest a special taste of the Poudre River. All of our beverage partners use the clean, refreshing water of the Poudre River in their craft!

Many of our Poudre Pour partners are taking a hard hit from this COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to support these small businesses who make our Northern Colorado community unique and vibrant:

Horse & Dragon Brewing Company: Taproom closed but you can find their beer in liquor stores around NoCo

Maxline Brewing: Open every day from 1-7pm for to-go orders of crowlers and limited 6-packs; feel free to call ahead to place your order.

Gilded Goat Brewing Company: Taproom closed but  many of their beers are still available next door at Square Beverage.

Rally King Brewing: Open for to-go orders – check website or call for details

Snowbank Brewing: To-go orders available – visit their website to place your order

Odell Brewing Co: Taproom closed but you can buy their beer at most liquor stores in NoCo

New Belgium Brewing: Taproom closed but you can buy their beer at most liquor stores in NoCo

Timnath Beerwerks: Beer to-go daily from 12-7pm

Wiley Roots Brewing Company: Order online and drive thru pick-up available Wed-Sun, 12-7pm

WeldWerks Brewing Company: Curbside pick-up available – order online

Intersect Brewing: To-go beer available – see website for details

Red Truck Beer Company: Taproom closed; visit website for updates on to-go orders

Mash Lab Brewing: Crowlers to-go – see website for hours

Mighty River Brewing Company: To-go beer available – see website for details

High Hops Brewery: Order online for curbside pick-up or delivery

CopperMuse Distillery: Order online for curbside pick-up

Morning Fresh Dairy: Delivery available – order online

Human Bean: Drive-thrus open – visit website for updated hours

Z Catering/Fuel Cafe: Food delivery to Fort Collins on Wednesdays

Thank you for supporting these local businesses during this difficult time. We look forward to seeing you all in person in the future! Until then, cheers to health, happiness and a cold brew in the comfort of your own home.

Poudre Pour Postponed

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FORT COLLINS, CO – Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Poudre Pour, scheduled for March 28, 2020, has been postponed. The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is actively working with the Town of Windsor to reschedule the annual fundraising event for the Fall of 2020.

While very disappointing, this decision has been made in the best interest of public health and is based on the understanding of how COVID-19 is currently progressing throughout Colorado and the United States.

PHA will be in touch as soon as possible to announce plans for rescheduling the Poudre Pour, which is critically important to our annual fundraising efforts.  You can check back at poudrheritage.org/poudre-pour for updates.

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ABOUT THE CACHE LA POUDRE RIVER NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA AND THE POUDRE HERITAGE ALLIANCE

 

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), a 45-mile stretch of the Lower Poudre River, tells the story of the river where Western Water Law took shape and how the river still informs the use of water throughout the arid West today.  CALA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit managing entity – the Poudre Heritage Alliance – PROMOTES a variety of historical and cultural opportunities; ENGAGES people in their river corridor; and INSPIRES learning, preservation, and stewardship. Find out more at:  https://www.poudreheritage.org/

Volunteer of the Month: Deborah Shulman

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Q: Tell us about your path to water activism

A: I began participating in water activism in 2015 by joining the League of Women Voters water and environmental group and the Larimer County Parks Advisory Board where I still serve, but my journey started with the High Park Fire.

I watched on national media outlets as the fire fighters battled the fire and the helicopter made a wall of water between my house and the fire.

Our house and property are located on a steep hillside and we have a limited water supply from our well. We have run out. I have learned to manage water, how to conserve and be efficient and even grow vegetables and fruit.

Water is a precious limited resource that we all need and have to negotiate.  I have participated in deliberation and water facilitation workshops and learned how to have conversation surrounding tough water issues toward resolution.

It was at the Poudre River Forum where the Poudre Heritage Alliance is a sponsor that I first heard how the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area recognizes water and beneficial use from different vantage points – agricultural, industrial, municipal, environmental and recreation.

There is conversation.  There is collaboration.  That is what motivated me to become a Poudre Heritage Culturalist and to teach others about water and history.

Q: Why did you become a volunteer with the Poudre Heritage Alliance?

A: I believe in the power of stories and history to teach fundamental lessons and guide us going forward. The events that led to Prior Appropriation and its subsequent adoption into Colorado water law along with national and global impacts, resonate in this day of polarized politics, gridlock and inability to work together for the common good.

The men from the Union Colony and Fort Collins that arrived at the Eaton School House on their horses, with their tents and guns were angry.  Union Colony had built ditches, it’s community and economy around the Poudre River.  Fort Collins had grown and also needed the water. Then the water dried up.

What happened in that school house is nothing short of remarkable.  It taught me the power of conversation and collaboration to solve our issues for the common good. We have to know what we want and what we are willing to give up to get to a point of resolution.

Conversation and collaboration are not easy and we have to keep coming back to the table even when the going gets hard and tempers flare.

This is what I bring to my participation the Poudre River Forum committee and our approach to water education.  Everyone loves the Poudre River. We all need and want water. Now let’s talk.

The Poudre River Forum is on February 28 and the topic is Quality Collaborations (water quality).  Please join us.

Q: When you aren’t supporting PHA as a volunteer, what do you like to do for “fun”?

A: It’s all about water. I spend winters cross country skiing – classic, skate, trail, backcountry, and telemark.

In the warmer months, I swim, bike, run, hike and grow food. I also have a touring kayak and enjoy paddling on Horsetooth Reservoir near my home.

I am on the committee for the Horsetooth Swim races.

Q: When did you decide to run for Larimer County Commissioner?

A:  It was a direct result of my participation in water issues and the Poudre Heritage Alliance.  I was in a small group deliberation workshop surrounding NISP and how to have constructive dialogue around contentious issues.  I wanted to know about how these cities were managing water and if there was a focus on conservation and efficiency.

I asked, “How can I influence water and land use policy?” or “How do we get a regional water treatment plant?”.  The answer was to become county commissioner.

 

To learn more about the 2020 Candidates for Larimer County Commissioner, check out this article from the Coloradoan.

To learn how you can volunteer with the Poudre Heritage Alliance, please contact Jordan Williams at admin@poudreheritage.org or visit our website: https://poudreheritage.org/heritage-culturalist-volunteers/

Poudre Heritage Alliance Hosting 3rd Annual Poudre Pour: An Educational Celebration of the Poudre River

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The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), in partnership with the Town of Windsor and 16 local brewers and distillers, is hosting the 3rd Annual Poudre Pour – an educational celebration of the Cache la Poudre River – on Saturday, March 28 from 2:00-6:00PM at the Boardwalk Park in Windsor, Colorado. Tickets to the family-friendly event include beer tastings, coffees and non-alcoholic beverages; complimentary paired appetizers at each beer and beverage booth; history and heritage activities; a silent auction; live Blues music with the award-winning Grace Kuch Band; educational speakers and more. Event information and tickets at www.poudreheritage.org/poudre-pour

Water from the Poudre River has nourished our region for centuries. Today, the Poudre and other rivers in the West are under exceptional stress due to growing populations, drought, and other demands on our water supplies. The Poudre Heritage Alliance raises awareness about water issues and connects people to their water heritage through a variety of year-round programs and events such as the Poudre Pour.

“The Poudre Pour is a unique community event that brings together people from all walks of life and from all over Northern Colorado to celebrate the Cache la Poudre River,” said Kathleen Benedict, Poudre Heritage Alliance Executive Director. “The educational activities and speakers will help bring an understanding of water law and our water heritage to guests.”

“We care deeply about the Poudre River. I grew up playing in and on it, and only in adulthood came to realize how much we and downstream neighbors rely on its abundance and health.” Said Carol Cochran, owner of Horse & Dragon Brewing Company. “For our product, delicious craft beer, a healthy watershed is vital.  For all of us in our community, this beautiful river is at the root of what drew us here and is the thread that connects us all.”

Poudre Pour attendees will enjoy beverage tastings from breweries and distillers spanning the National Heritage Area, including Odell Brewing, Horse & Dragon, High Hops, Weldwerks, Gilded Goat, Intersect, Maxline, Snowbank, Rally King, New Belgium, Mighty River, Mash Lab, Red Truck Beer Co., Timnath Beerwerks, Wiley Roots, and CopperMuse Distillery. Attendees can also enjoy coffees from Human Bean. Water from the Poudre River nourishes the healthy farm produce that will be used by Z Catering to craft tasty appetizers made with local beers and spirits. This year kids 16 years old and under receive FREE admission to the event with a paying adult. The all-inclusive tickets for people 17 years and older range from $20-$40, and they can be purchased online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-poudre-pour-tickets-74729230139

poudre pour 2020 brewers and distillers

In the event’s third year, the Boardwalk Park in Windsor will serve as the backdrop for the family-friendly event, offering guests access to a beautiful outdoor space and a variety of historic buildings important to the heritage and history of the area, including the Whitehall schoolhouse, a train depot, a German farmhouse, and a beet shack. Attendees can dance to the music of 16 year-old Blues phenom Grace Kuch and her electric Blues band; engage in a “Heritage Trail” scavenger hunt; bid on silent auction items such as a week in Steamboat or a craft beer goodies basket; and participate in hands-on educational activities in each of the four 19th century cabins located at the Park.

The educational theme of the 3rd Annual Poudre Pour will be “The National Heritage Area: Discovering Your River.” The signature educational happenings of the day will include various speakers discussing the importance of water within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and how PHA informs the community, region, state, and nation through its projects and programs. The educational speakers will include Tim Cochran, Owner of Horse & Dragon Brewing; Matt Robineault, Executive Director of the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority; Yufna Soldierwolf, former Director of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office; Julie Chacon, Executive Director of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area; and Jep Enck, Executive Director of the Poudre River Trust.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Poudre Heritage Alliance, the 501(c)3 managing nonprofit of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. The Poudre Heritage Alliance works to PROMOTE a variety of historical and cultural opportunities, ENGAGE people in their river corridor and INSPIRE learning, preservation, and stewardship.

Volunteer of the Month: Robert Ward

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Photo: Robert Ward leads a Peadling the Poudre bike tour, sharing his extensive water knowledge with guests.

In 2005, Robert Ward completed 14 years as Director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, located on the Colorado State University campus (CSU).  In his research administration role, he served terms as President of the National Institutes for Water Resources and the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR). His 35-year career on the CSU Engineering faculty involved teaching courses in systems analysis methods, water quality monitoring and management, and engineering design. His work on water quality management and monitoring sent him around the world, to places like New Zealand and The Netherlands. In January 2006, he also was awarded Honorary Life Membership in the Colorado Water Congress, recognizing his work in connecting university-based water research to the solution of practical day-to-day water management problems.

Besides consulting and professional society activities, retirement for Robert includes hiking, biking, reading, gardening, raising funds for the CSU Water Resources Archives, and serving as a current Heritage Culturalist Volunteer (and former Board Member) for the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), a group that seeks to inform the general public about the development of western water law and technology, using the Poudre River as a classic example. 

Robert supports PHA programs and events by leading Pedaling the Poudre bike tours and providing well-researched interpretation for PHA’s Heritage Trails initiative. Robert’s expertise and involvement with the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage is invaluable and very much appreciated!

To learn how you can volunteer with the Poudre Heritage Alliance, please contact Jordan Williams at admin@poudreheritage.org or visit  our website: https://poudreheritage.org/heritage-culturalist-volunteers/