By SJMA Forest Ambassador, Jojo Matson
Alpine tundra ecosystem services
May you be mindful that the alpine tundra is an incredibly special place for our entire ecosystem near and far. Everything underneath your feet is alive. The tundra ecosystem acts as a giant and delicate sponge created by a network of roots reaching up to two feet deep. This sponge holds our snowpack through the winter and reduces avalanche potential. It holds our soils together allowing moisture from snowmelt and spring monsoon storms to absorb into the ground instead of running off or triggering a mudslide. What most of you might notice are the abundant flower varieties that feed large populations of pollinators and herbaceous animals.
Every impact to that delicate sponge compresses the network of roots. The more compressed it becomes, the less effective it is at holding the ecosystem together. Look along the trail on the edges of the footpath and see how far it has compressed from the surrounding soil from feet and tires. Notice areas of increased water flow in the trail and the rapid erosion that takes place within a short amount of time. Once the erosion begins, it is very hard to stop on its own and is amplified and widened when we try to avoid the impacted areas. At some point, the impact might be irreversible, and the trail will become a large gully for water runoff.
May you be mindful where your feet, your furry friend’s feet, or your tires go today.
Alpine tundra, visitors in an ecosystem homestead
May you be mindful that the alpine tundra is a unique and diverse ecosystem that supports lifeforms near and far in an incredible balanced network of traveling and permanent dwellers. Some of these neighborhoods are confined to the tops of our mountains and are bound by the environmental boundaries of elevation, temperature, and water. This neighborhood is a collection of specialized flowers and plants and the specialized creatures that eat them. One you may be familiar with is the pika, a small and adorable furry creature that greets you as you enter the high country with loud chirps. The pika is very special because it can only survive in our high cool mountaintops. They cannot withstand temperature above 77 degrees F. They also do not sleep the winter away but survive awake underneath the snowpack. It spends all summer collecting, drying, and storing plants in stashed piles underneath rocks all over the tundra. Their knowledge of each plant’s necessary drying and storage time is miraculous. All the while, they spread seeds and propagate the environment they need to survive in the next year. They are as brilliant as they are adorable.
When you visit the tundra, you will notice there are not many places to hide. A few boulders, scree rock slopes, and valleys of flowers. The pikas have storage stacks that are in safe regions for them to use later. When our feet or out furry friend’s feet go near or invade the storage areas, it can lead to the pika getting hurt or stopping collection of food at that location.
May you be mindful while you visit the tundra where your feet and your furry friend’s feet go. We are there for a short time, and the pika calls it home.
The heartstrings for the trees
May you be mindful that the San Juan Forest is a uniquely biodiverse ecosystem ranging from a dry desert range to the high alpine mountaintops. Everything under your feet is alive including the streams, soils, and the network of mycorrhizal and root systems holding the soils together. Every change in elevation and moisture creates a specialized ecosystem composition that is as unique as a fingerprint to anywhere else.
Notice the changes to the areas that have seen impacts from repeated use to the areas that have been left untouched. Notice what life does or does not survive underfoot. See that the giant roots that grow across the trail are the heart strings for the beautiful trees that stretch above you. Their roots are not deep, they spread wide as they grip to the side of a mountain. These trees are already taxed from impacts of smoky air, insect infestations, and rising temperatures all while they do the important job of stabilizing our mountains and cleaning our air.
May you be mindful of those heart strings while you are out underneath their canopy.
By Ana Siegel, SJMA Wilderness Crew Member
For the last two months, my office has been the burn zones, alpine vistas, cow-filled meadows, and log-strewn trails of the Weminuche Wilderness. As a member of the San Juan Mountains Association’s Wilderness Crew, I have the privilege of spending my work week immersing myself in, and helping to protect, this beautiful and unique landscape.
To understand the work we do, it is necessary to grasp the goals of the 1964 Wilderness Act: “Wilderness should be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness.”
Our aim as the Wilderness Crew is to facilitate the balance between easing visitor access to and enjoyment of this land, while protecting both the landscape and its character. Depending on the week, our focus is on either trail work or campsite monitoring. Most recently, we cleared a trail in the Rio Grande National Forest–using only non-mechanized tools, like crosscut and hand saws–allowing for easier foot and stock access to an alpine lake. Other weeks, we hike remote trails, collecting data on already-existing or new campsites, dispersing illegal campsites, and carrying out as much trash as we can fit in our packs. On the first hitch of our season, we carried out nearly 85lb of trash and abandoned supplies.
Most significant to me, is the way that these weeks in the field have deepened my own understanding of wilderness character. This week, two of our work days were cut short due to dangerous weather conditions; lightning strikes with almost immediate thunder claps prompted us to decide to return to lower ground and wait out the storm in our camp. Waiting for the storm to pass in my tent, I felt humbled by the power of this place and the lack of power that we have as visitors in wilderness. I think that reaches the crux of wilderness character: that feeling of ceding control, entering an environment where you are humbled by both the power and the beauty of the natural world, “untrammeled by man,” as the Act puts it.
As our crew experiences on a daily basis, this wilderness character does not always make our lives easy: it’s that feeling of willingly putting yourself in the position of being cold, wet, sore, and daydreaming about that piece of pizza you’re going to eat the very second you get back to town, while simultaneously being in awe of the place you’re in. Wilderness character is the now-infrequent experience of being at the whim of the natural world. In a society where we have predominantly controlled our environments for our own use, safety, and enjoyment, it is a welcome-challenge–refreshing, even–to relinquish that control.
The efforts of our Wilderness Crew to both improve access to and protect the Weminuche Wilderness ultimately contribute to the protection of this character. It’s a fine line to walk: visitors must travel with care in order to protect the landscape. But, I hope that the work we are doing allows future visitors the opportunity to experience the joy, challenge, and resulting empowerment that I have experienced during my time working here in the Weminuche.
By Julia Ledford, SJMA Forest Ambassador
I know what it’s like when the crowds find your secret spot. I’ve known waterfalls and powder stashes and pristine lakes that I could once visit without seeing another soul. But now, the secret is out. I’ve also been the one to stumble upon someone else’s special place and disrupt their solitude. Most likely, so have you.
I’ve known people that complain more about other people on the trail than they appreciate what’s around them, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve never fallen into the same trap. Let’s be honest, passing hordes of other hikers and hearing dogs barking or seeing toilet paper in the woods isn’t what we imagine for an ideal day in the mountains.
Being a Forest Ambassador has changed my perspective. I spend my days hiking in the places that many locals say have been “ruined” by mountain bikers or the sheer number of visitors. My job is to deliberately engage with all of these people with the goal of reducing our collective impact on the landscape. I have learned what an honor it is to share these incredible places with others, and to appreciate watching so many people smile at the same things that make me smile. Instead of rolling my eyes at the group of nine hikers approaching me on the trail, I welcome them to this breathtaking meadow of wildflowers and educate them on how to keep it that way. Together, we share the joy of being surrounded by such magnificence, and almost always, we learn something from each other. After all, understanding these places is the first step to protecting them.
The truth is, your secret spot won’t be yours forever. People will continue coming to the San Juans, so welcome them, enjoy every second of it, and of course, Leave No Trace.
By Cassidy Storey
As warm weather and a public eager to get outside returned to the San Juans this summer, Forest Ambassadors hit the trails representing San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) and the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) in a new stewardship outreach program.
In response to the increased number of visitors to trails, campsites, and popular recreation areas, SJMA launched a crew of skilled and passionate Forest Ambassadors to make public contacts, conduct routine trail maintenance, identify land management issues, implement volunteer stewardship projects, and conduct environmental monitoring. With support from the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative and Great Outdoors Colorado, SJMA’s Forest Ambassadors have increased the number of “boots on the ground” during the busiest months of the year helping to protect some of Southwest Colorado’s most treasured public lands.
Forest Ambassadors spend each week maintaining trails, educating the public on “Leave No Trace” principles, and connecting with people in America’s public lands, the only wildlands most of us will ever own. In the last two months, Ambassadors have connected with over 3,000 public land users , rehabilitated more than 100 campfire rings, helped with several outreach events, and created a friendly, knowledgeable presence for visitors that did not exist before.
The new Ambassadors have some interesting stories to tell. As a team, the crew aided Search and Rescue operations, helped injured and lost hikers, identified an undetonated avalanche bomb, removed dozens of pounds of trash, photographed stunning scenes in the high country, and provided hands-on experience that can help inform future outreach efforts.
In early June, while heading back to the trailhead after a productive day on Ophir Pass, one of SMJA’s Forest Ambassadors encountered the Search and Rescue team beginning an evacuation operation. Search and Rescue informed him they had been called by a group of runners with an injured member. Though it was near the end of the day, he offered to help, and they gladly accepted. The runner had tumbled down a steep slope while traveling in the snow and landed off trail with a dislocated shoulder. Emergency medical technicians were able to put the man’s shoulder back in place so he could walk back to the road, but the Forest Ambassador was there to help. This was only the first of several instances so far in which Ambassadors were in the right place at the right time and able to lend their skills and experience to help someone in the San Juans.
Ambassadors have also focused extensively on educating new and returning visitors on “Leave No Trace” principles, a set of ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. In the SJNF, that means preparing for changing weather, packing out all trash and waste, leaving wildflowers for others to enjoy, keeping sensitive high alpine ecosystems healthy by staying on trails, respecting wildlife by not feeding them and keeping dogs under control, and minimizing campfire impacts which includes following current fire restrictions. As a team, the Forest Ambassadors have shared these ways to “Leave No Trace” with a variety of recreationists from fly fishermen to backpackers.
The SJMA Forest Ambassadors will be hard at work throughout the summer promoting conservation of the San Juan Mountains. They look forward to seeing you out on the trails and are always delighted to tell you more about their work and how you too can act as a responsible steward of your public lands.
Author: Cassidy Storey, Forest Ambassador Field Manager. Cassidy grew up in Colorado and is a recent graduate of Colorado State University passionate about using science to connect people to the outdoors.
By Stephanie Weber
San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) is comprised of an amazing team of people working on issues involving access to our public lands through education and outreach. Over the past year, the SJMA team has worked diligently and creatively to find solutions to numerous challenges brought about by COVID-19. In our monthly “Stewards of the Lands” column, we have repeatedly mentioned the challenges brought about by explosive growth in public lands use in 2020. With summer just around the corner, SJMA has stepped up our education and outreach efforts significantly in partnership with federal and local agencies, Silverton, and Visit Durango.
If you read last month’s column by David Taft, you learned about our “Forest Ambassadors.” The fact is SJMA is in the process of tripling our staff for the summer to nearly 50 people dedicated to educating young and old about the wonders of our natural world and responsible recreation.
Through the financial support of the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), and the many of you who are SJMA members or supporters of “Wild for the Weminuche,” we have hired nearly 20 Ambassadors who will be stationed at more than a dozen recreational hotspots, the Silverton Visitor Center, and the Durango Welcome Center as well as a six-person crew dedicated to the Weminuche Wilderness. Summer camp counselors will join our education team to instill a love and respect for public lands in youth through summer camp adventures. We will also have Visitor Information Specialists working at forest service offices across Southwest Colorado who aim to provide you with current information on backcountry access as well as equip you with resources to plan your adventure.
There has been one other notable staff change at SJMA: after boldly leading SJMA for more than three years, Brent Schoradt has stepped down to return to practicing law. Having worked alongside Brent after the merger between Durango Nature Studies and SJMA, I have been selected by the SJMA Board of Directors as the next executive director of SJMA. As a native Coloradan who spent my teen years in Durango and the San Juan Mountains, I am honored to step into this role and lead SJMA forward. But here’s the thing: it’s everyone’s job to make sure we are doing our part to leave our beloved public lands better than we found them.
All of this is important to keep in mind as we come upon the 6th Annual Colorado Public Lands Day on May 15. SJMA is a partner in hosting two events on Public Lands Day and invite all to attend:
- SJMA and the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative will have an educational mountain bike ride through Boggy Draw from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Learn some of the common plants, how these forests are adapted to wildfire, about the goals and effects of management activities like prescribed fire and thinning, and about the large-scale efforts underway to protect and restore these forests. Meet at the Main Boggy Draw Trailhead.
- In light of the ever present need to keep trails clear and accessible across our mountains,SJMA volunteer and retired Wilderness Ranger Anne Dal Vera will be hosting a crosscut saw training. Check out more information on the USFS Crosscut Saw Program. Or contact Anne Dal Vera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SJMA has a number of opportunities for you to engage with us in our efforts to protect the public lands we all enjoy, both paid and volunteer. Take a look at the “Get Involved” tab on our sjma.org website or feel free to contact me anytime. I look forward to working with you during these unprecedented times of growth and change.
By David Taft
From the soaring amphitheater of Ouray, to the turquoise lakes of Silverton, to the red rock canyons of Mesa Verde, it was absolutely unmistakable that last year was unlike any before it. The overwhelmed parking lots, trash strewn trails, and overcapacity camping areas were impossible to miss. Everyone acknowledged that something needed to be done to manage the ballooning growth in visitors on Southwest Colorado’s public lands. If you ask a land manager what the best solution is to improving the situation, invariably they will respond “more boots on the ground”. We need more people to clean up the mess, educate visitors on how to reduce their impact, and ensure that the increased visitation doesn’t harm both the landscape and experience of other visitors. Thanks to our members’ support, an innovative grant from GOCO, collaboration with Mountain Studies Institute and our great agency partners, and a bit of creative thinking, we will be doing exactly that this summer at San Juan Mountains Association.
Starting in May, we will dispatch a crew Forest Ambassadors into the field each day to cover the busiest trails in our region. These Ambassadors will cover a huge swath of public land, ranging from the lofty heights of Lizard Head Pass, to the forested trails of Boggy Draw and Vallecito, to the wildly popular high country peaks around Silverton. The ambassadors will greet hikers at trailheads, alert visitors to fire restrictions, educate them about how to responsibly visit sensitive alpine environments, keep trails in top shape as they go on patrol, and monitor conditions so we can better manage these exceptional places. Furthermore, the ambassadors will team up with volunteers who will amplify the positive impact of this program. This program will provide a perfect opportunity for new volunteers to gain some experience with a land management professional in the field, or for a veteran volunteer to enjoy some quality time sharing their knowledge of a place they love. These volunteers will accompany ambassadors to patrol trails, track visitor numbers at trailheads, and help keep our favorite recreation spots beautiful.
This Forest Ambassador program will dramatically increase the presence of staff on the land in the San Juan National Forest, and establishes a model for private public partnership that agencies, nonprofits, volunteers, and local businesses can all get behind. We encourage you to get out with an ambassador this summer, see what they’re up to, and give them a hand in their daily mission to keep the San Juans beautiful. We all acknowledge the exceptional value of spending time in the outdoors, and want to encourage everyone to enjoy the health and emotional benefits of visiting public land. With this program, we will ensure that we can all enjoy the benefits of time spent outdoors without harming the place, wildlife, or future visitors’ experience.
By Adriana Stimax
Summer creeps, SJMA leaps
Imagine yourself as a kid again. It’s spring and you can hardly sit still in class as you gaze out the window and watch puffy clouds drift by on a warm breeze. The early flowers have poked their heads above ground and summer is so close you can feel it. You daydream about hot days that seem to stretch on and on forever. Everyone is buzzing with energy and ready to run out the door the second the bell rings.
As summer unfolds before us, everything shifts gears. Young and old alike are energized with the longer days. Everything is so busy and full of life. But, it may no longer feel like the endless days of sun and play that it once did when you were child. Now the responsibilities of adulthood weigh heavily on our shoulders, taking much of our time. Each precious summer feels shorter and shorter. If you blink, you might miss it. Although there may no longer be someone at home making dinner so you can stay out until dark, we still must find time to go outside and play.
Recent science has found that spending time outside is very beneficial for our mental and physical health. In Japan they call it forest bathing, and it’s even prescribed as a treatment by doctors. Although that may not come as a surprise to you, our culture treats outdoor time as a luxury not a necessity. It’s considered a recreational activity and not something fundamental for our health and happiness.
At San Juan Mountains Association, we are passionate about getting people of all ages outside and engaged with their public lands in a sustainable fashion. This summer we will be offering a variety of ways to get active outdoors. For adults, SJMA’s interpretive programming offers free community hikes to learn about edible plants, geology, archeology and more. You definitely don’t want to miss our springtime full moon hike through Sand Canyon while learning about the human history of the area.
For the younger generation, SJMA is offering summer camps available for rising first graders through 17 year olds. Our state child care licensed camps are led by fun, experienced outdoor educators, inspiring the next generation of conservationists. Our grade-school Junior Naturalist Field Camp is returning this summer to offer kids a space to learn, play, and make friends safely outside. We’re also excited to announce a new Adventure Camp for older kids aged 13-17 in both La Plata and Montezuma Counties. In addition to spending days packed full of exploration, students will have the opportunity to spend one night camping in the mountains.
Last year we saw a huge increase in visitors to public lands and open spaces, driven by the need to get out of the house and away from the endless screen time. For the first time, many people are realizing the value of our wild spaces. There is an opportunity to shift our culture to one that not only values time spent outside as an important part of daily health, but understands why it’s important to do so in a responsible manner.
For more information about summer programming visit sjma.org/learn or contact Education Director Adriana Stimax at email@example.com.
By Mike Bienkowski
With snow and subzero temperatures and feet of snow one week, then warm sun followed by rain and thunderstorms and t-shirt weather the next, it seems like the weather is very confused about what season it is. Regardless of the wild weather, the days will grow longer, the sun stronger, the bears will start to stir and the birds will break into song.
Spring is a magical time to spend long afternoons rambling in the outdoors, reconnecting with the rhythms of nature and delighting in the almost daily changes as flowers pop, birds return, and animals big and small come out of dormancy. Anyone who has ever spent time with young children outdoors knows that they are perfectly equipped to find joy in the small details of a landscape returning to life. Hiking with kids, you stop a lot, and inevitably notice things you never would have otherwise. Kids adventure outdoors much the way they live–occupied with the present moment and fully enraptured by their immediate surroundings.
While many Durangatangs associate SJMA with dreamy alpine Instagram photos, our information booth at the Ice Lakes trail, or encountering Forest Ambassadors in the Weminuche, you may not know that we are also a state-licensed childcare provider perfectly equipped to help children explore the way they do best–up close with the landscape and immersed the the plethora of beauty at eye and ground level. Come April, SJMA will once again be offering after-school enrichment for elementary students. These programs, called the San Juan Science Ramblers, take science education into the forest, where students learn about nature and ecology by getting their hands–and hiking shoes–dirty.
With experienced educators as guides, kids explore topics specific to place and season, in ways that can only be done on the land. From wildflowers to edible plants, winter survival to predator-prey adaptations, actual experience in the field makes for memorable learning while developing observation and critical thinking skills, all in a context of fresh air, healthy movement, and much-needed safe social interaction. Thanks to a partnership with the San Juan National Forest, all of these programs take place on local public lands, accessible within fifteen minutes of town.
As a kick-off to after-school enrichment, SJMA is also offering a weeklong Spring Break Camp the week of March 15th – 19th. From exploring desert ecology and archaeology at Sand Canyon, to learning about indigenous culture at the Southern Ute Cultural Center, investigating snow science and winter ecology and building snow caves at Molas Pass, and taking on some of the most rewarding hikes right in our backyard, this camp will incorporate hands-on learning into the ultimate Durango stay-cation for youths aged 6 – 11.
It is SJMA’s mission to empower people to explore, learn, and protect the amazing public lands in our backyard. We believe that in connecting the youngest generations to the natural world and helping them fall in love with it, ethics of conservation and stewardship will inevitably be woven into our future. For more information on camps or to register, visit sjma.org/learn or contact Education Director Adriana Stimax at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Bienkowski is a former secondary science teacher and educator with Durango Nature Studies who now works for San Juan Mountains Association as the curriculum coordinator for education programs.
By David Taft, Conservation Director
It needs no saying that 2020 was a radical departure from normal, and it’s becoming quite clear that it left its mark on our nation’s most iconic public lands. Countless trails and recreation areas saw visitation increases in the 100-300% range, putting an average Tuesday in 2020 on par with the 4th of July week in previous years. Due to this influx, issues including habitat degradation, social trail creation, and massive increases in human waste challenged our public lands and the people who manage them. As we turn the page into a new year it is time to rethink how we tackle challenges to public lands and channel our energy into protecting the places that need it most.
Traditional hot spots were figuratively (and in some cases literally) burned to the ground last summer., San Juan Mountains Association has plans to turn that around by doubling down on our efforts at Ice Lake, Chicago Basin, the Colorado Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. All of these areas are in desperate need of public outreach presence, trail rehabilitation, erosion management, and a laundry list of other issues. We will do this by expanding our volunteer activities, offering public trainings such as crosscut sawing and outreach, increasing our seasonal staff presence, and growing our partnerships with other organizations.
SJMA also plans to reboot all our educational activities to further enhance and deepen our community’s relationship with the mountains and valleys we call home. Our expert staff and volunteers will lead interpretive sessions because we believe understanding these places is the best way to inspire visitors to become good stewards of the land.. We encourage everyone to take a day or two out of their summer to learn about the wildlife, flora, and geology of our mountains.
At SJMA, we are encouraged that so many Americans used the great outdoors as a coping mechanism for the hardships of 2020, because the outdoors should be open to all. But along with this trend we must have a corresponding increase in voluntarism and public support for these places. So take a stand this year by giving back to the places you love. Sign up for one of SJMA’s volunteer days, take a training to learn about trail maintenance, volunteer to lead or join a naturalist hike for visitors to the area, or simply pick up trash and be a resource to those needing direction. There is little indication that user numbers will drop back to pre-pandemic levels, so we will all need to contribute in our own ways to ensure the San Juans remain healthy and vibrant.
December 13, 2020 by Brent Schoradt
This year, getting outside became a lifeline for Americans of all stripes, and our public lands became more popular than ever.
For me, a long hike anywhere on our public lands is the one activity that brings a sense of normalcy to my daily and weekly routines. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all been reminded how important our forests and public lands are to our personal well-being, both physically and spiritually. Here in Southwest Colorado, we’re lucky to enjoy relatively easy access to millions of acres of public lands.
Unfortunately, a recent surge in visitors to our public lands has come at a cost. Many forest visitors are not aware of best practices and aren’t accustomed to visiting areas without bathrooms or trash facilities. As a result, human waste, toilet paper, trash and graffiti have become an increasingly common site at some of our most beloved local places. That’s why San Juan Mountains Association has stepped up its efforts to care for our local public lands.
Since its founding in 1988, SJMA has been committed to cleaning up and caring for our most treasured public lands, such as the Weminuche Wilderness and Ice Lakes Basin. This summer, SJMA volunteers made an immense difference by posting up at our Ice Lakes Educational Basecamp to educate hikers about how to responsibly visit the area.
All told, these local volunteers contributed 475 hours to contact 9,200 hikers and remove hundreds of pounds of trash while providing “wag bags” and dog poop bags to encourage folks to pack out their own waste. During one encounter in August, SJMA volunteers found an abandoned campfire that was quickly extinguished, potentially avoiding a peak season wildfire in Ice Lakes Basin.
After all these efforts, we were devastated to see the Ice Fire occur in late October, just a few weeks after SJMA’s Educational Basecamp was taken down for the year, when the area has normally received at least some initial snowfall. We know our efforts make a difference for the landscape, and we are eager to help facilitate the area’s recovery from the fire and this unprecedented busy season.
Because of local donations to SJMA’s newly formed Weminuche Wilderness Stewardship Fund, SJMA was able to improve conditions on the ground in 2020 and achieve these outcomes in the Weminuche:
Partnered with Southwest Conservation Corps and the Colorado Trail Foundation to remove avalanche debris from the Colorado Trail at Elk Creek, improving access to one of Colorado’s iconic through-hikes.Naturalized 298 illegal campsites.Installed eight designated campsites at Rainbow Hot Springs, while naturalizing unsustainable sites.Removed more than 70 downed trees from the Needle Creek Trail to improve access to Chicago Basin.Packed out more than 260 pounds of trash from the wilderness.In these times of great uncertainty, SJMA recognizes that one thing is for sure: Our public lands face growing threats, from persistent drought, catastrophic wildfire, climate change and surging numbers of visitors.
In response to these mounting threats, SJMA is doubling down on its efforts to stand up for public lands by educating visitors, empowering volunteers and instilling a land conservation ethic that will stand the test of time.
We know that caring for the land and protecting our forests and watersheds are core values of Southwest Colorado, and we are committed to digging deeper and standing taller in the face of growing challenges. After 32 years, SJMA’s work is just beginning.