Work It! Seven Ways to Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day

Look who's ready to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day.
Look who's ready to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day. Mark Byzewski at Flickr
Every year for the past five, on the third Saturday in May, the state has marked Colorado Public Lands Day, celebrating all the ways that the wilderness contributes to our lives and our economy. Those contributions are significant: The outdoors industry rakes in around $28 billion a year and provides roughly 229,000 jobs in the state. But without constant vigilance, the outdoors can quickly become a trash dump.

So nonprofits across the state are ready to put the public to work picking up trash, tearing down dangerous buildings, sawing fallen logs over trails and more on May 15. If you love hard labor and the land, this day is for you. And at the end of it, you can celebrate with a cold one.

Here are seven ways to help:
click to enlarge Celebrate the CORE Act by removing an abandoned structure with the Western Slope Conservation Center. - WESTERN SLOPE CONSERVATION CENTER
Celebrate the CORE Act by removing an abandoned structure with the Western Slope Conservation Center.
Western Slope Conservation Center
Love Our Land: Celebrate CO Public Lands Day With WSCC
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
McClure Pass, Redstone-Somerset

Break out your hammers, gloves, crowbars and safety goggles and join the Western Slope Conservation Center on a hike up McClure Pass to remove an abandoned old structure. The process, which will take two to three hours, will be followed by a hike up Huntsman Ridge Trail to celebrate the passing of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act. Register with the WSCC for more details.

Volunteer Workday at Cresta Open Space
Cresta Open Space, Colorado Springs
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

New trails don't just appear overnight; somebody's got to build them. The Rocky Mountain Field Institute will host a volunteer workday at Cresta Open Space to finish rerouting a trail through the 35 acres of foothills grass and shrubland. Be prepared to dig, scrape and heft whatever debris is in the way. Sign up for full information about how to get involved at the RMFI website.

30th Annual Arkansas River CleanUp-GreenUp
307 West Sackett Avenue, Salida
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area wants you to join a crew in cleaning up the littered banks of the Arkansas River between Leadville and Cañon City. With spring melt coming, picking up the trash is crucial in keeping downstream neighbors happy and unpolluted. Families are encouraged to work together and stay six feet from other groups. For more information and to sign up, go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
click to enlarge Find out how to save a forest. - WILDERNEST42 / WIKICOMMONS
Find out how to save a forest.
Wildernest42 / WikiCommons
“Feel the Burn” Interpretive Mountain Bike Ride
Main Boggy Draw Trailhead
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saddle up and start pedaling for an educational mountain-bike ride through Boggy Draw with the San Juan Mountains Association and the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative. You'll bump your way through ponderosa pine while learning more about local flora and how it responds to wildfires. And as you huff and puff your way down the trail, you'll discover the many ways that conservationists are managing, preserving and restoring the forests. Register at the SJMA website.

Get Out! Tapping Party at Mountain Tap Brewery
Noon to 9 p.m.
910 Yampa Street, Steamboat Springs

The good folks at Mountain Tap Brewery in Steamboat Springs have crafted a special beer to mark Colorado Public Lands Day. Head to the brewery to enjoy Get Out!, a Belgian-style saison made entirely with Colorado ingredients. Lift your glass and tilt one back for conservationists like yourself, ensuring that our public lands remain wild and pristine.

Colorado Public Lands Day and Summer Events Preview
1 to 5 p.m.
Lorax Trail, near Carbondale

The Wilderness Workshop will be using its Colorado Public Lands Day festivities to take participants on a three-mile, all-ages hike. After the trek, learn more about the group's summer events and ways to get involved in conservation advocacy while enjoying food and drink. Registration is required, and more information will be sent to participants.

Wildcat Canyon Day Hike
May 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wildcat Canyon, Near Cheesman Reservoir

On May 15, the conservation group Wild Connections was planning to hike eight miles to a remote section of the South Platte River, but rain, snow and dangerous trail conditions forced the group to push back its event. The area is upstream of Cheesman Reservoir, and is endangered by illegal motorized vehicles tearing the landscape apart. The eight-mile hike includes 1,200 feet of elevation gain, and the event will be limited to ten people. If you're interested in details and participating, contact Jim Lockhart at 719-385-0045 or [email protected]

How are you celebrating Colorado Public Lands Day? Let us know at [email protected]
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris