Saturday, Sept. 24, is the annual National Public Land day (NPLD), the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through NPLD, the National Environmental Education Foundation works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation and general health.
Each year, NPLD volunteers provide tens of millions of dollars' worth of services in one day that would otherwise take limited agency staff months to accomplish.Lend a hand and have fun at the same time by bringing your family, friends, classmates, students or coworkers to spend the day outdoors giving back to your community by pulling invasive species, maintaining trails, picking up trash and more. Your work will help ensure public lands continue to be beautiful places for all to enjoy!
The Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC), partnering with the Forest Service is sponsoring a work day "sprucing up" the ski trails on the Grand Mesa on Sept. 24.
According to GMNC president Dave Knutson, "We have a lot of tasks to accomplish to get ready for this year's ski season. We 'divide and conquer' with volunteers...some will clip bushes, clear trails and replace signs on the Skyway and Ward Lake trails, others on the County Line Trails. We also resurrect the warming hut at Skyway."
The aspen should be at peak fall colors that weekend. Sept. 25 is "Color Sunday" along the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway. "Enjoying the fall scenery will be a bonus for our volunteers this weekend," Knutson added. Volunteers will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Skyway parking lot, located approximately five miles west of the Grand Mesa Visitor Center off Highway 65. Volunteers should come prepared wearing work boots, long pants and bring gloves, water and sunscreen. Lunch will be provided if volunteers contact GMNC prior to the event (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Many NPLD celebrations go beyond volunteer events, hosting recreational and educational activities! This year to encourage youth to learn about their public lands, on Sept. 23, the Forest Service is hosting an environmental education day for many of the fourth graders in the North Fork Valley. This event is part of the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative, President Obama's commitment "to protect our nation's unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them." Fourth graders will visit the Gunnison National Forest near Paonia for a field trip where they will learn about forestry techniques, invasive weeds, "Leave No Trace" principles, meet the Rocky Mountain Mule Pack string and explore the forest on a nature hike. "An important component of NPLD is stewardship -- taking care of and giving back to the land -- in this case, habitat for blue birds," stated Paul Kimpling, Forest Service event coordinator. "Students will build blue bird houses which will be installed at their respective schools and learn about why this is an important contribution to the habitat of these birds," he added.
The Bureau of Land Management will also host a work day on the Blackridge Trail in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area on Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Robin Lewis (email@example.com) for more information on this project.
To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NPLD is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks, with some federal lands also celebrating the National Park Service centennial.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.