FACEBOOK  |  INSTAGRAM  |  TWITTER  |  YOUTUBE

 

In Memory of William “Bill” Fischer

By | News | No Comments
Bill Fischer

In memory of William “Bill” Fischer

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) staff, Board of Directors, and the Northern Colorado water community as a whole is mourning the loss of William “Bill” Fischer, who passed on May 7, 2019, after a brief illness.

Fischer, an attorney, had recently retired from the firm Fischer, Brown, Bartlett & Gunn, P.C., in Fort Collins. In his law practice, he represented mutual ditch and reservoir companies, municipalities, water users associations, water districts and individual water users.

Bill was a supporter of the PHA’s and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA). He also served on several boards related to natural resources, water rights and water quality issues in Northern Colorado, including the Water Quality Advisory Committee of the Larimer-Weld Council of Governments, the Natural Resources Advisory Board for the City of Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Water Board.

Bill’s life will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 20, at Windsong Estate Event Center, 2901 Saddler Blvd., Fort Collins. Memorials are to the United Way of Larimer County or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Mothers Day

4 Fun Mother’s Day Adventures in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area

By | News | No Comments
Take your mom on a Mother’s Day adventure she will never forget! (Photo by  Gabriele Woolever)

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mommas out there! It’s a wonderful time of year in Northern Colorado to get outside and enjoy the outdoors as a family. The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) has some incredible natural, cultural and historical resources that make a Mother’s Day Adventure possible for the entire family.

Check out some of the ideas we have put together for your family this Mother’s Day:

  1. Bike the Poudre Trail! PHA’s Pedaling the Poudre program has some great self-guided routes that are appropriate for all skill levels!
  2. Get wet in the river or take a stroll down the Poudre Trail, while remembering to Play It Safe.
  3. Head to Picnic Rock for a beautiful family lunch on the river.
  4. Take mom to River Bluffs Open Space for a nature hike and some birding. Bring your binoculars! The Poudre River Trail at River Bluffs Open Space connects to 21 beautiful miles of trail running southeast through wildlife areas and parks.

 

About Poudre Heritage Alliance
The goal of the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is through interpretive and educational programming and media to build a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance including its role in influencing water development, water law, and water management.  
Poudre River Fish Ladder at Watson Lake

Poudre Heritage Alliance Collaborates to Improve Poudre River Ecosystem Health

By | News | No Comments
A new fish ladder (left side) on the Poudre River at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area & Watson Lake will reconnect more than 2 miles of the Poudre River, improving ecosystem health and fish habitat (Photo by Jordan Williams).

 

On May 1, 2019, Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) staff joined with partners and community members at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of a new fish ladder at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area and Watson Lake. The new structure helps to connect fragmented sections of the Poudre River and improve aquatic habitat for fish.

This fish ladder will help the following species:
· Longnose dace
· Longnose suckers
· White suckers
· Brown trout
· Rainbow trout

“Outside of the benefits to aquatic life, this project is important as it showcases the feasibility of fish passage at these large diversion structures and will hopefully further momentum for these types of projects,” said CPW Aquatic Biologist Kyle Battige. “It also serves as an example of the collaboration and team effort from multiple entities that these large-scale conservation projects will have to have in order to be successful in today’s world.”

Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance, helps to unveil the new fish ladder at Watson Lake.

PHA will provide a grant to fund the interpretive signage at the site of the fish ladder to help tell the story of water management in the area and how diversion structures still have many uses today, including for agricultural users like project partners Morning Fresh Dairy and Noosa.

Signage and interpretation is an important educational program of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. By supporting facility enhancements along the trails, the Cache la Poudre River NHA will continue to be a premiere local and national attraction as the trail corridor truly becomes a cohesive Heritage Trail.

We hope this will be the first of many fish ladders along the Poudre River that can help to improve the health of the river’s ecosystem.

This project was made possible by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), along with funding partners noosa yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited.

 

 

 

For more information about PHA and this project please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath, Communications Coordinator, at communications@poudreheritage.org.

Second Annual Poudre Pour Receives Fort Fund Grant

By | News | No Comments

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The second annual Poudre Pour has been awarded a $4,000 Fort Fund (City of Fort Collins) grant to support the event in 2019. The Poudre Heritage Alliance and 12 different craft brewers are partnering to host the Poudre Pour, an educational celebration of the Poudre River from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at the Carnegie Center for Creativity, 200 Mathews St, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Poudre Pour will highlight water and the importance of the Cache la Poudre River to more than 634,000[i] Coloradoans living in Larimer and Weld Counties. The event focuses on craft brews and the major ingredient that makes the stouts, lagers and ales so tasty…WATER from the Poudre River!

This family-friendly event is not your typical brewfest! Poudre Pour attendees can enjoy craft brew tastings from: Purpose Brewing & Cellars, Odell, New Belgium, Horse & Dragon, High Hops, Weldwerks, Gilded Goat, Intersect, Maxline, Snowbank, Rally King, and Soul-Squared. Attendees can also enjoy coffees from Human Bean, Kombucha from Turtle Mountain Fermentery, and natural sodas from Rocky Mountain Soda Company. 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 such as beer cheese and jalapeno-stuffed pretzel bites and salted caramel porter popcorn. The all-inclusive tickets range from $5-$40, and they must be purchased online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poudre-pour-2019-tickets-52679495790

The Carnegie Center for Creativity and Heritage Courtyard in downtown Fort Collins serves as the backdrop for the family-friendly event offering both indoor and outdoor activities. Attendees can dig the vibes of the Blues Society and BethStudio; peruse the art gallery/auction that highlights artworks inspired by the beauty and wonder of the region; meet Northern Arapaho tribal elders in the video series airing in the Idea Lab; engage in a “River Rangers” scavenger hunt; bid on silent auction items such as a whitewater rafting trip or a craft beer goodie basket; and participate in hands-on activities in each of the four 19th century cabins that will be hosted by organizations such as the Windsor-Severance Historical Society and Blue Federal Credit Union.

The signature educational happening of the day will be a panel of experts discussing “A River of Many Uses” in relation to water law and all the beneficial uses of Poudre River water. The panel will include Corey Odell from Odell Brewing, Randy Ray from the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, Christa Cherava from the National Parks Conservation Association, Nic Koontz from Native Hill Farm, and Cheri Yost from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Proceeds will benefit the Poudre Heritage Alliance, managing entity of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area – working to PROMOTE a variety of historical and cultural opportunities, ENGAGE people in their river corridor and INSPIRE learning, preservation, and stewardship.

The event is enabled through the generous support of in-kind donations and sponsorships that make it possible to both celebrate and educate about our most important resource – water.

In addition to our brewer/beverage partners, Poudre Pour sponsors to date include: The City of Fort Collins – Fort FundCity of Greeley, Bohemian FoundationLamp Rynearson, Blue Federal Credit Union, Neenan Archistruction, Dellenbach Motors, Block One Events, Scheels All Sport, Von Trotha-Firestien Farm at BracewellWindsor Severance Historical Society, Leprino Foods and our media partners/in-kind partners which include The New Scene Magazine, North Forty News, KUNC, 105.5 the Colorado Sound, Signarama, and NoCo Style.

The Poudre Heritage Alliance and community partners are joining to celebrate the wonder of water and to protect our water heritage for this and future generations!

Tickets to the Poudre Pour are limited and MUST be purchased in advance: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poudre-pour-2019-tickets-52679495790

///

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

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) 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/

 

[i] According to the US Census Bureau as of July 1, 2016 the population in Larimer County, CO totaled 339,993, and the population in Weld County totaled 294,932.

Poudre Pour 2019: Celebrating the Bounty that Flows from the Poudre River

By | News | No Comments

FORT COLLINS (February 21, 2019) – What do farm-to-table foods; craft ales, sours and stouts; and Northern Colorado’s water heritage have in common? The Poudre River!

The Poudre Heritage Alliance, in partnership with local craft brewers, is hosting the 2nd Annual POUDRE POUR – an educational celebration of the bounty that flows from the Poudre River – on Saturday, March 30 from Noon to 4:00PM. The family-friendly event features craft brew tastings, coffees and natural sodas; farm fresh ale-inspired appetizers; history and heritage activities; art exhibit and auction; musical entertainment; education speakers and more. https://poudreheritage.org/event/poudre-pour-2019/

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.

“As we enter another decade of service connecting people to their water heritage, we will help inspire the next generation of river stewards,” said Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. “The Poudre Pour helps us raise awareness about water issues, connect people to their river corridor and celebrate all of the ways the Poudre River benefits our lives.”

And, good water is a key ingredient in the craft brews we enjoy in Northern Colorado. “Humans are roughly 60% water so we should care about our water,” said Peter Bouckaert, brewmaster for Purpose Brewing and Cellars. “Beer is around 95% water, so brewers care about their water being clean and free of heavy metal, pesticides, harmful microorganisms and chemicals. Brewers are also parents so we care about our kids drinking 100% water. Clean water is the unconscious privilege we only realize if we do not have it.”

Poudre Pour attendees can enjoy craft brew tastings from: Purpose Brewing & Cellars, Odell, New Belgium, Horse & Dragon, High Hops, Weldwerks, Gilded Goat, Intersect, Maxline, Snowbank, Rally King, and Soul-Squared. Attendees can also enjoy coffees from Human Bean, and natural sodas from Rocky Mountain Soda Company.  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 such as beer cheese and jalapeno-stuffed pretzel bites and salted caramel porter popcorn. The all-inclusive tickets range from $5-$40, and they can be purchased online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poudre-pour-2019-tickets-52679495790

The Carnegie Center for Creativity and Heritage Courtyard in downtown Fort Collins serves as the backdrop for the family-friendly event offering both indoor and outdoor activities. Attendees can dig the vibes of the Blues Society; peruse the art gallery/auction that highlights artworks inspired by the beauty and wonder of the region; meet Northern Arapaho tribal elders in the video series airing in the Idea Lab; engage in a “River Rangers” scavenger hunt; bid on silent auction items such as a whitewater rafting trip or a craft beer goodie basket; participate in hands-on activities in each of the four 19th century cabins that will be hosted by organizations such as the Windsor-Severance Historical Society and Blue Federal Credit Union.

The signature educational happening of the day will be a panel of experts discussing “A River of Many Uses” in relation to water law and all the beneficial uses of Poudre River water. The panel will include Corey Odell from Odell Brewing, Randy Ray from the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, Christa Cherava from the National Parks Conservation Association, Nic Koontz from Native Hill Farm, and a surprise guest from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Poudre Heritage Alliance, the 501c3 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.

Event Date:         Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM (held rain, snow or shine)

Location:              Carnegie Center for Creativity and Heritage Courtyard, 200 Mathews St, Fort Collins.

Tickets & Info:   https://poudreheritage.org/event/poudre-pour-2019

///

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

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) 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/

*Picture above: Brewers and staff from Purpose Brewing and Cellars serve their wares at the 2018 Poudre Pour

Tonko, McKinley Introduce Bill to Strengthen National Heritage Areas System

By | News | No Comments

Bipartisan legislation backed by 60+ members establishes process for designating, evaluating and maintaining National Heritage Areas across the U.S.

Regional note: All three National Heritage Areas in Colorado, including the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, and South Park National Heritage Area, support the National Heritage Area of 2019 (HR-1049). One of the bill co-sponsors is Joe Neguse, the newly elected representative for Colorado District 2.

WASHINGTONRepresentatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and David McKinley (R-WV) announced today that they have introduced the National Heritage Area Act of 2019, backed by a bipartisan group of 60 total cosponsors. This bill establishes, for the first time, standard criteria for designating new National Heritage Areas and creates a rigorous process for maintaining existing National Heritage Areas.

“National Heritage Areas connect us, and perhaps more importantly future generations, with the voices and places that have shaped who we are as Americans,” said Tonko. “These sites deliver more than just a significant economic return, they help us reveal the diverse and sometimes hidden gems of our cultural heritage and fill us with a sense of place that brings our complex history to life. Our National Heritage Area Act will help establish and maintain the strong local partnerships necessary to restore and protect these sites for generations to come. I am grateful to my fellow co-chair David McKinley and all of our cosponsors who recognize that we must know our heritage to understand ourselves.”

Tonko and McKinley are longtime supporters of National Heritage Areas and serve as co-chairs of the Heritage Areas Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The National Heritage Area Act will allow us to continue to celebrate and promote the beauty of our states, preserve our heritage, and plan for the future. National Heritage Areas ensure that the people who live, work and visit our beautiful states can enjoy them,” McKinley said. “Our bill will provide a clearly defined structure to oversee the management of heritage areas and will allow these popular public-private-partnerships to better preserve our national heritage, spur economic growth and create jobs.”

National Heritage Areas are sites that hold historic, cultural, and natural significance to the people of the United States of America. The National Heritage Area (NHA) Program is a cost-effective program run through the Department of the Interior based on a public-private partnership model that matches every federal dollar with an average of $5.50 in other public and private funding. There are 49 National Heritage Areas across the country including the Erie Canalway and Hudson River Valley Heritage Areas, which continue to benefit the Capital Region. These sites and the organizations that maintain them have become a source of vital job creation and economic, cultural, historical, environmental, and community development.

The National Heritage Area Act:

  • Establishes a standardized process for establishing new National Heritage Areas (NHAs)
  • Creates an evaluation process for existing NHAs that guarantees accountability
  • Modernizes the program to allow for long-term sustainability
  • Defines an oversight structure that will effectively allow these popular public-private partnerships to better preserve the nation’s heritage and spur economic growth with basic federal support

The Alliance of National Heritage Areas offered strong support, saying, “We are very grateful for the leadership of Congressmen Paul Tonko and David McKinley in sponsoring the National Heritage Area of 2019 along with each of the bill’s 60 co-sponsors. This reflects broad bi-partisan support from across the country. The Alliance of National Heritage Areas looks forward to working with Congress to advance this significant piece of legislation which furthers National Heritage Areas’ efforts to preserve, protect, and promote our nation’s story.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) also expressed strong support for the bill: “National Heritage Areas use public-private partnerships to preserve and promote the broad range of stories that make up our rich, shared American experience. The National Heritage Area Act standardizes the way heritage areas are designated, managed and assessed, and will make an already effective program even more impactful and efficient.

###

*Picture above of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area as seen from the Picnic Rock area

Poudre Pub Talk™ Series for 2019 Announced

By | News | No Comments

EXPERTS DISCUSS WATER ISSUES AT LOCAL CRAFT BREWERIES

FORT COLLINS (December 21, 2018) – What do craft brewers and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area have in common? Good water! The Poudre Heritage Alliance has teamed up with leading water experts, cultural historians, and local craft brewers to raise awareness about water issues through a free, informative, and entertaining series of Poudre Pub Talks™ hosted January through March 2019. The pub talks will again lead up the second annual Poudre Pour on Saturday March 30, 2019.

Water makes life possible and is essential for economies to function. But, freshwater resources such as the Cache la Poudre River are in jeopardy due to growing demand, pollution, climate change and other factors. These pressures create profound risks for businesses and communities. We can’t possibly navigate a topic as large as this without some sense of perspective, and some help from the experts.

The 2019 Poudre Pub Talk™ series kicks off on Saturday January 5, 2019 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Snowbank Brewing. Jennifer Kovecses from the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed and Nate Boschmann from Wildlands Restoration Volunteers will discuss the importance of watershed health and current initiatives taking place in the Poudre River corridor.

On the following Saturday January 12, from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Soul Squared Brewing, ‎Zach Thode, a cattle rancher from Livermore, will discuss how irrigation technology benefits local communities and economies. Zach spent his career as an agricultural engineer, constructing municipal water treatment facilities across Colorado and Wyoming, and designing large scale, gravity-fed irrigation water systems.

The complete Poudre Pub Talk™ series features guest speakers talking about a range of subjects related to local water, its use, and its history which can be found here: https://poudreheritage.org/pub-talks/

The Poudre Pub Talk™ series again culminates in the second annual, family-friendly Poudre Pour™ event on Saturday March 30, 2019. The Poudre Pour is an educational celebration of water from the Poudre River! The event features a variety of craft beverage tastings, entertainment, educational discussions, hands-on activities, an art exhibition and silent auction, and more. https://poudreheritage.org/event/poudre-pour-2019/

Highlights from the 2018 Pub Talk series include a book reading and signing by Tershia d’Elgin, author of the “Man Who Thought He Owned Water” and descendant of former Colorado Governor Benjamin Eaton. During her Intersect Brewery Pub Talk in January 2018, d’Elgin also donated a family painting of Benjamin Eaton’s original homestead along the Poudre River to the Colorado State University Water Resources Archive. The online link to this special collection can be found here: https://mountainscholar.org/handle/10217/186458.

The Poudre Heritage Alliance and our craft beverage partners invite you to join us in celebrating the wonders of water and protecting our water heritage for this and future generations!

 ///

*Picture above: Executive Director Jennifer Kovecses from the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed discussing wildfire restoration at a 2018 Pub Talk hosted by Maxline Brewing and the Poudre Heritage Alliance.

Play It Safe on the Poudre Initiative Receives $10,000 donation from Blue Federal Credit Union

By | News | No Comments

FORT COLLINS (December 11, 2018) – During a special event at Blue Federal Credit Union’s (Blue) downtown Fort Collins Branch, the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) and Larimer County Dive Rescue Team (LCDRT) received a $10,000 donation towards the Play It Safe on the Poudre Initiative. The generous financial support from Blue will allow LCDRT to purchase a new boat and rescue equipment.

Matt Jackson, President of the nonprofit, volunteer-led LCDRT  shared, “On behalf of the citizens of Larimer County and the Larimer County Dive Rescue Team, I would like to personally thank the Poudre Heritage Alliance and Blue for their hard work and continuing effort to keep the Poudre River a safe environment for recreators and for helping keep LCDRT prepared to respond to water-related incidents.”

The seed was planted for this Initiative when the National Park Foundation awarded the PHA a grant to educate the community about the diversion structures within the river and how they affect recreational use. After a river fatality occurred in the summer of 2017, multiple agencies came together to launch the “Play it Safe on the Poudre” Initiative. The program partners included the Poudre Fire Authority, the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, LCDRT, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, National Park Foundation, and Poudre Heritage Alliance for the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area.

The Initiative’s first goals were to install hazard and safety signage upstream from the diversion structures; install put-in and take-out signage that shared safety information; and create maps of the recreational routes. Once signage was installed, efforts focused on community education given that knowledge is a key to safety awareness. Moving forward the Initiative will continue education and outreach activities in Larimer County, and expand partnerships “downstream” in Windsor and Weld County.

The Blue Federal Credit Union believes in supporting their community and those who serve to help protect and keep us safe. With that in mind, Blue partnered with PHA in support of the Play it Safe Initiative by creating the first-ever “Splash-In” event.  The event was held on August 24 at Horsetooth Reservoir as a fundraiser for the initiative and Blue generously matched donations up to $10,000.  The Poudre Heritage Alliance and the “Play it Safe” Initiative thank Blue and the community for their support!

///

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

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) tells the story of the river where Western Water Law began and still informs the use of water throughout the arid West today.  CALA shares the long struggle to sustain a viable agricultural economy and meet the growing needs of a diverse and expanding population, while celebrating the Poudre River.

CALA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit managing entity – the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) – 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/

ABOUT BLUE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

Blue Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution serving nearly 80,000 members in Colorado and Wyoming communities. Blue FCU focuses to return company profits to their members and communities, rather than outside investors.  As a credit union with a mission to Doing Good, they are honored to help people succeed financially and strengthen the communities which we serve.

The Blue Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization founded to help Blue Federal Credit Union and our members fulfill our Do Good mission. We champion, fund and celebrate local nonprofit causes that keep our community and people strong, financially stable and healthy. For more information about Blue FCU and the Blue Foundation, please visit https://www.bluefcu.com/

Featured Photo: Matt Jackson from LCDRT, Kathleen Benedict from PHA, and Michele Bolkovatz from Blue

Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area Receives Field Trip Grant From National Park Foundation

By | News | No Comments

Fort Collins, CO (October 11, 2018) – The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) and the nonprofit managing entity—the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA)—will receive a $5,000 field trip grant for the 2018-2019 school year from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The NPF grant will go towards PHA’s Learning in Our Watershed™ program, which provides scholarships to schools in Larimer and Weld county to visit various locations throughout CALA.

This grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with national park experiences.

“Trekking along trails, observing our natural ecosystems and engaging with our shared history are experiences that benefit all children,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Making it possible for America’s youth to explore our national parks is an investment in their future and the future of the national parks community.”

Through this partnership with NPF, PHA will be able to provide scholarships that defray transportation and admission costs for at least 17 schools and 1,500 children grades 3rd-6th. The Field Trip grants are available on a first come, first served basis through PHA’s website: https://www.poudreheritage.org/field-trip-grants/. Priority is given to new schools who have not already applied for a scholarship this year, but there are many different locations to visit. Popular destinations within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area include the Poudre Learning Center, Children’s Water Festivals in Greeley and Fort Collins, Centennial Village in Greeley, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The Poudre Heritage Alliance also offers guided wellness walks as a way to explore the heritage area through this program.

“Many children and community members do not realize that they have a National Park-quality natural resource right in their backyard with the Cache la Poudre River,” said Poudre Heritage Alliance Executive Director Kathleen Benedict. “The Learning in Our Watershed program allows the PHA to partner with many great organizations throughout Larimer and Weld County to bring local youth to the National Heritage Area. Once they arrive at one of our pre-approved field trip sites, they receive structured educational sessions on numerous topics, from riparian eco-systems to local historical reenactments.”

This past summer, PHA also received a $4,000 grant from the Rotary Club to help fund Larimer County field trip scholarships. There are still some funds left from that grant to support grade levels in Larimer County outside of the 3rd-6th range that is part of the NPF’s grant award for PHA’s Learning in Our Watershed program.

“Dos Rios elementary greatly appreciates the Poudre Heritage Alliance and the opportunities they provide us to have such wonderful learning experiences on our field trips. We always enjoy the Poudre Learning Center and the opportunity it provides us to get out in nature and do inquiry-based learning. Each aspect of our field trip was fantastic!” – 5th grade teacher at Dos Rios.

For the full list of grantees and their projects, click here.

ABOUT THE CACHE LA POUDRE RIVER NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) tells the story of the river where Western Water Law began and still informs the use of water throughout the arid West today.  CALA shares the long struggle to sustain a viable agricultural economy, and meet the growing needs of a diverse and expanding population, while conserving the Poudre River’s health.

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/

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION

Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Poudre Heritage Alliance

Jordan Williams

970-295-4851

programs@poudreheritage.org

 

National Park Foundation

Alanna Sobel

202-796-2538

asobel@nationalparks.org

 

(Featured picture: Resurrection Christian students on their Learning in Our Watershed field trip to the Poudre Learning Center in September 2018)

Colorado Heritage Journey: The Trail Life

By | News | No Comments

“Trail life” can mean a lot of different things. For Kelsey, Aska, and I during our 400+ mile thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, here is what a typical day looked like: Wake up between 6-6:30am; retrieve the food bag we hung the previous night from a nearby tree to protect us from bears (hopefully); feed our dog Aska and get her paws/pack ready for the day; boil water for coffee and breakfast; pack up our tent, sleeping bags, pads, and other equipment; filter water depending on upcoming water sources; start hiking our average 15 miles per day; stop a couple times along the hike for snacks and lunch; reach camp around 4pm and unpack everything we need for the night; boil water for our dehydrated dinner; hang our bear bag; brush our teeth; watch or read something on our phones; go to sleep.

Many friends and acquaintances during our travels would ask us questions like: “How amazing were the stars at night?” Or “I bet all the campfires were super fun”. However, when your quasi-job for the month involves walking with a 40 lb backpack for 8-10 hours each day, all you really want to do is lay down in your tent and go to sleep at 8pm before the stars even come out. Of course, other people experience different versions of the trail life, which could include horseback riding, ATVs, and lots of campfires. The great thing is that our trail infrastructure is so versatile that it can satisfy the diverse recreational demands of millions of people each year.

Thanks to our National Trails system, it’s easier than ever to enjoy your time in the outdoors. This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act as well as the 50th year celebration of our Wild and Scenic Rivers. Additionally, the Continental Divide Trail, which is celebrating it’s 40th year as part of that system, is co-located with the Colorado Trail for about 300 miles. This trail is interesting because unlike the more famous Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail, it still needs some work to be completed from end-to-end.

One of my favorite conversations along the trail was with a Canadian couple that was backpacking a section of the Colorado Trail per a recommendation from their son who thru-hiked the full 2,500+ mile Continental Divide Trail corridor the previous year. The couple explained that Canada contained many great trails, but no real continuous trail systems like in the United States that extend for hundreds and hundreds of miles. They were particularly amazed how most of our trails were “free”, meaning no one was charging them money to hike or camp along the way. I tried to explain how our public lands work in terms of national forests, wilderness areas, and even national heritage areas, but obviously things can get a little complicated.

As part of that same trails system, historic pathways such as the Old Spanish Trail and Overland Trail still weave through modern day trails in Colorado. (See the additional resource links and books below.) In fact, my time spent driving over Poncha Pass and hiking through the Cochetopa Creek basin along the Colorado Trail directly connected me to Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and the north branch of the Old Spanish Trail. This 19th century trade route spanned the distance between the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and California, using footpaths blazed over centuries by American Indians and reported on by early Spanish explorers. Its heyday existed from 1829-1848, before more southerly roads were pioneered by the Army and the more northerly emigrant trails came into favor. There were three routes that are identified today as the Old Spanish National Historic Trail. The North Branch proceeded north from Santa Fe into Colorado’s San Luis Valley, followed the Saguache River Valley, crossed Cochetopa Pass, and forded the Colorado River near Grand Junction.

Throughout my time on the Colorado Trail, I could envision how previous explorers and Native Americans utilized the same paths that our National Trails system keeps in tact to this day. And I hope that everyone living the trail life can appreciate this important piece of heritage as well.

Day 27: After several blue sky days in the San Juan mountains, the weather forecast for the week looked pretty foreboding. We woke up to rain in Silverton, then as we drove away from the town to Molas Pass, we glimpsed snow on the tops of the 13,000 ft mountains in the distance. Yikes. Thankfully on this day we were able to avoid most of the thunderstorms and hail on our way to a beautiful camping spot at Cascade Creek. The roaring river and waterfalls more than made up for the rainy and cloudy conditions. (See the waterfall picture before.) We also avoided contact with another herd of sheep that we only heard from the hillside. Talk about a different trail life than our experience!

Day 28: With only few days of hiking remaining, we seemed to be grinding out miles faster than usual. It helped that we once again were lucky with weather as the mist and clouds seemed to be building behind us rather than in front. After many days in the wilderness without mountain bikers, we were encountering more cyclists than hikers at this point. Some were camping along the trail as well, while others were just out for a day of joy-riding over Blackhawk Pass and milky colored creeks. (See our picture from the top of the pass below—right before the mountain bikers came speeding by us on the downhill.) At times there can be friction between different trail users, but most of the mountain bikers we encountered during our travels were very respectful of the backcountry.

Day 29: From where we were camped at Straight Creek the previous night, we had a stretch of 22 miles before we would run into another water source at Taylor Lake. We were making good time over the déjà vu style up and downs until lunch when the hail and rain finally found us. After 45 minutes of huddling together under our tarp, we made a break for our campsite which was about another four miles down the trail. Despite muddy walking and thunderstorms all around us, we finally made it to our scenic overlook campsite for the evening. The views, clear skies, and sun were quite the treat after all the stressful hiking over the last few days. (See the picture below of the snow-capped mountains in the distance.) Amazingly, despite such an awesome campsite, we didn’t run into any other trail users on this Labor Day.

Day 30: With sunny and clear skies in the morning, we prepped for our final big climb over Indian Trail Ridge, also known as the Highline trail, which would take us over 12,000 feet for the final time. The ups and downs were taxing but beautiful as we said goodbye to the alpine views behind us while also glimpsing the forest burn sections that had closed the Colorado Trail earlier in the summer. While the CT was now open, many other trails in this area were still closed because of mudslide and hotspot dangers.

As we made the descent over Kennebec pass, I was able to reminisce about a 12 mile race I did in the La Plata canyon two years ago. But I didn’t have time to dwell on these fond memories, because as soon as we got back into treeline, the hail, thunder, and rain began. Despite our best efforts to wait out the rain, it wouldn’t let up. Eventually, we had to forge ahead through trails that resembled rivers and forests that were covered in a white layer of hail. (See the white-spotted picture below.) Despite a miserably wet campsite, our spirits were lifted when two other thru-hikers who we knew from our earlier travels camped with us that night. Misery really does love company!

Day 31: Now that only 15 miles separated us from Durango and the end of our journey, it didn’t matter as much that our shoes and equipment were soaked. We pressed on through fairly easy hiking conditions, and soon the sun was shining on our final day of hiking the Colorado Trail. After crossing the finish line, we waited for our hiker compadres to reach the trailhead as well so we could give them a standing ovation. Then after our friends who live in Durango picked us all up, we went to the local brewery to receive our free beer for completing the trail. It was the best beer I have ever tasted.

After 31 days of hiking on the Colorado Trail from July 30 to September 5, my biggest takeaway is what I call my new “trail mentality”. Essentially, it boils down to living in the present and enjoying the moment. Another assumption that many people have about the trail life is that there is a lot of time for reflection and introspection. But usually, you are too tired or too focused on the hill in front of you to worry about the world at large. This mentality can be a good thing I think because it directs us to concentrate on the challenges immediately before us (e.g. the uphills), enjoy the fun times when we can (e.g. the flat parts), and not worry about the future outside our own purview (e.g. the inevitable, leg-pounding downhills).

The whirlwind of modern life will undoubtedly infringe on my trail mentality in the not too distant future. But I feel confident knowing that our national trails, wild and scenic rivers, and National Heritage Areas will be there to remind me of the important things in life when I need an escape to the outdoors. Now it’s time to look at my calendar so I can plan my next visit to our trails—maybe next weekend?

  • Recommendations for future readings:
    • For the Old Spanish Trail, particularly regarding Juan Bautista de Anza and his crossing of Poncha Pass:
      • Anza’s 1779 Comanche Campaign by Ron Kessler (original journal)
      • Juan Bautista De Anza the King’s Governor in New Mexico by Carlos R. Herrera
      • The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen
    • Overland Trail: https://coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/overland-trail

About the author: Jordan Williams is the Assistant Program Manager for the Poudre Heritage Alliance, and he will be hiking 400+ miles of the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango from August to early September alongside his wife Kelsey and their dog, Aska. During their trip, the threesome will be making stops in South Park and Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Areas and blogging about their experiences. Additionally, they will be posting about their adventures on Instagram @thehikingheeler and @poudreheritage. Don’t miss your chance to learn more about Colorado’s Heritage Journey!