Last Thursday evening, a group of Osprey volunteers hopped into our silver Dodge mini van, loaded down with gear and clothing for what was to be a wet, snowy weekend just outside Boulder, CO, and departed for an event called The Backyard Collective.
The BYC is an effort of The Conservation Alliance, which brings together member company employees (in this case, Osprey, La Sportiva, etc.) and local grantees for a day of environmental action. Projects include trail work, invasive species removal and other opportunities for us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards.
At this event in particular, there were a few new volunteers (myself included), and we were all anxious to arrive, layer up, get our boots muddy and do our part to help the Boulder community that’s very much in need.
During the more than seven-hour drive from our Cortez headquarters, I thought quite a bit about what trail work really means — and what it would mean for me at this event. The first image that came up was of myself swinging a pickaxe on some dry single track with a weathered pair of leather gloves, sun shining on the hillside with an epic view of early high-altitude snowfall, and a deep blue sky filled with puffy clouds that seem close enough to run across. Then, I imagined, I’d break for a morning Clif bar and refill my green tin cup with a few more ounces of hot John Wayne-style coffee. Oh, I imagined, it’d sure be glorious and rewarding. That’s the definition of trail work right?
We awoke Friday to a rain-snow mix and temps in the low 30s. We sorted our way through a light morning commute toward Broomfield, made a quick stop for coffee and finally arrived at the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm. After an initial meet-and-greet and a disbursement of tools, we received our group assignment and grabbed the wheelbarrows to head down the path.
The expected turnout of 20 people was a sure underestimation of our group’s commitment to help The Conservation Alliance. I took a quick count of about 50 people dressed in Gore-Tex rain shells, with hats pulled over their ears and smiles on their faces as they huddled around the free hot chocolate.
The trails here at the farm have been closed for some time, and after our work, nearly 125,000 people will regain access to them. We worked seamlessly with great instruction — and nearly four hours later, noticed that we had created one thousand feet of new path for the locals to enjoy. Six hundred more feet was our initial task. We crushed it. My hands were sore, my back a little tight, but I didn’t quite feel exhausted or fulfilled like I had originally anticipated the week before. Hmm…
For myself, I think there were a few greater questions and lessons that I took away from the morning. I certainly contemplated my self-interests in the volunteer day. Why did I really sign up to help? To feel good? To get out of work for a day? It’s cliché to say ‘to help those in need’, but maybe it was just as simple as that?
The reality of the work and location was nothing like the perfect Colorado day I had imagined when I signed up and stepped away from my desk. It frankly reminded me of the days growing up in Michigan and having to help a relative with chores around their acreage. It was flat, grey and damp. Turns out, it didn’t matter.
As the weekend continued in the hustle of downtown Denver, I looked around watching other’s interactions in the city, and it seemed as though our efforts began to sink in on another level. We all love nature for different reasons. Whether we’re taking a personal break from our jobs, on a vacation we’ve filled the money jar with for a few months or simply heading out of town with a group of friends to have great stories to share on Monday morning: it’s all the same.
I realized it doesn’t matter where the trail leads or what the view is. It’s a trail, which means it’s an opportunity to be outside: and it’s that simple. It’s a way to improve someone’s day whether it is used on a lunch break walk or the start of a multi-week adventure of not regularly washing your hair. Whatever the function, we took time out of our lives, our weekends, our days, to help something and someone else. Each of us is capable of, if we so choose, taking advantage of these small opportunities to positively impact the places that we love. And more importantly, help places that other people love.
Tim Calkins / Senior Graphic Designer Osprey Packs
Osprey is a proud corporate sponsor of the American Alpine Club. Our packs have seen the summits of the world’s great mountains on the back of great mountaineers who write for, are sponsored by or are members of the American Alpine Club. It’s an indispensable resource for those who love to climb. —Gareth Martins, Osprey Packs marketing director
Please join the American Alpine Club (AAC) in celebrating the Hueco Rock Ranch purchase—the latest in a flurry of big pushes that America’s climbing club is making to help us all get out and up.
Earlier this month, the American Alpine Club bought the Ranch on behalf of climbers everywhere. For more than a decade, the Ranch has been the international gathering place for visitors to America’s best bouldering area, Hueco Tanks.
We at the AAC are beyond psyched to play a role in the history of this center of camping and guiding by becoming the steward of this lodging landmark. Our on-site presence will provide a comfortable camping scene just outside the park gates, while strengthening the relationship with the State Park to create the best possible future for climbers and climbing at Hueco Tanks.
We’re also devoting more than $15,000 this year to renovate the Hueco Rock Ranch before opening for the 2012–2013 winter season. But we need your help TODAY!
It is AAC member dues that have made this purchase possible, and only support from more AAC members will continue to sustain this important gathering place. Please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Alpine Club to make the future for the Hueco Rock Ranch even more legendary.
For today only, the AAC is launching an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck recruitment that is aimed at celebrating these big advances… and sharing them by signing up new climbers as AAC members everywhere. Already a member? Renew your membership today. By supporting AAC, you’re not only doing something good (and that will make you feel good), but you’ll also get access to dozens of benefits and you’ll score the raddest, baddest Rock Ranch t-shirt this side of the Alamo. This limited-edition t-shirt can be snagged only by joining or renewing today, July 26. So, hop to it!
PHOTO: American Alpine Club
Amongst, cherry blossoms blooming a month early due to unseasonably warm weather, The Conservation Alliance board and staff recently convened in Washington D.C. for a day of education on conservation issues followed by a day of advocacy on the Hill. While a portion of our board has been strongly involved in advocacy over the years, we have increased our commitment to involve our entire board with this important aspect of our work.
Over the past 18 months or so, there has been an unprecedented amount of legislation that if passed, would directly compromise and roll back protection of our public lands. First there is H.R. 1505, otherwise known as the “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act”. This act would put all federal lands within 100 miles of the Canadian and Mexican borders or any U.S. coastline under the control of Homeland Security. Thus any protected areas in this scope would no longer be subject to any protection — think Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Great Lakes and Boundary waters and so on.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week. We call it the Osprey Round Up… Happy Friday!
Everybody remembers his or her first bike. Mine was a blue Schwinn — traditional bars and a seat with a metallic blue paint. In particular, I remember my first ride without training wheels. My father ran alongside me in an empty parking lot pushing and balancing me and then I was free — spinning away from my Dad, pedal, pedal, pedal — already worrying what to do when I came to a stop because the bike would now TIP OVER!! That bike saw many miles and many tip-overs. Over the years, it was shamed by my envy of Schwinn sting-rays only to rise proud again, converted to BMX style.
Osprey was introduced to 88Bikes when we first entered the bike industry with our Osprey Hydraulics™line of hydration packs. Their model is simple yet incredibly powerful: provide bikes — often the first — to young people living in challenging environments across the planet. In places like Cambodia, Uganda and Peru the addition of a bicycle to a young person’s life almost always is a life-changing event.
So, when we were offered the opportunity to help provide bikes to kids in Montezuma Creek, Utah on the Navajo Reservation right in our own backyard, we couldn’t resist.
Read the rest of the story over on Osprey’s Bike Blog…
by Chris Kassar
6,170 miles. This is the distance between Flagstaff, Arizona and Puerto Bertrand, Chile — the town closest to the source of the Rio Baker. This creates a formidable gap (the equivalent of driving from Boston to San Diego and back) between where many of us live and the rivers we are fighting to protect. Why then, are five folks from Flagstaff and two from Colorado so damned concerned about a river and a watershed that are so far from home?
The simple answer is this: we believe rivers should flow freely — from source to sea — as nature intended. But, there’s more. We are also motivated by the missteps made in our very own backyard. We live in the shadow of Glen Canyon dam — aka “America’s most regretted environmental mistake” and we constantly grapple with ‘what could have been’ if this place had not been lost. This dam stands as a beacon, reminding us of a past heartbreak and calling us to action in order to prevent others.
The lessons we have learned from the tragedy at Glen Canyon have made many of us in the Southwest unwilling and unable to stand by and allow the same mistakes to be made again, even in remote regions that are thousands of miles away. Despite the geographic distance between where we lay our heads and Patagonia, our connection to these rivers is strong and the need to stand up for them remains close to our hearts.
Recently, a few members of the team re-visited Glen Canyon Dam bringing with them newfound knowledge and experience as a result of our trip in Chile.