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Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life

April 4th, 2015
Dolores, CO

Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado. photo via Osprey Packs

 

Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life,” written by Osprey Packs co-founder & co-owner Diane Wren, originally appeared in the Montrose Press.

 

Twenty five years ago, my husband Mike and I moved from the coastal redwoods of California to the edge of sandstone canyon country in the San Juan Mountains in the hopes of building a headquarters for our homegrown company – Osprey Packs – that would allow us to test our handmade gear in the most inspiring and rugged of places. After settling in Cortez, Osprey quickly became an international force in the outdoor industry, and we’ve been proud to grow our classic American dream in southwestern Colorado. We now employ over 80 people in Cortez and are still growing. Like many other international outdoor businesses across Colorado, we chose to build a business here because access to public lands makes this the perfect spot for our employees to settle down, for us to try out our next idea in the field, and because so many in our community share our love for getting outside and exploring our wild West.

 

The same incredible landscapes that drew us to Colorado, though, are now facing a serious threat. Out-of-state special interests like the American Lands Council are pushing legislators across the Rockies to try to seize our national public lands and transfer them into state control, which could bankrupt our states and lead to massive access closures. Colorado is lucky enough to have 24 million acres of federal public lands within our borders, but the state managing them would cost Coloradans over $300 million a year, and a single wildfire could add tens of millions of dollars to the bill. Our state is constitutionally bound to balance its budget – this additional financial burden would likely force the state to prioritize extractive uses or sell off our lands to the highest bidder for private development.

 

colorado_osprey_40_years_in_the_making

SW Colorado Lightning. image via Rory Pfotenhauer/”Osprey Packs: 40 Years in the Making”

 

Getting locked out of our land would not only be bad for Coloradans, it would threaten businesses like ours that rely on the public’s ability to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and skiing for our livelihood. Outdoor recreation contributes $13 billion to Colorado’s economy annually and supports over 122,000 jobs statewide. Undercutting our industry would be a big blow to the state and especially small towns like ours which serve as gateways to the great outdoors. Osprey, for example, is hoping to hire 14 more employees in Cortez this year – having to “pay to play” or being excluded entirely from places like the San Juan Mountains, Canyon of the Ancients, and our renowned local mountain biking haven, Phil’s World, would make attracting good talent much more difficult.

 

Phil's World

Phil’s World MTB Trail, Cortez, Colorado. photo via Osprey Packs

 

We, along with millions of other Coloradans, have built businesses and homes here distinctly because of our access to these wild places. Losing them would be a huge blow to our bottom lines and way of life. On top of that, we have a responsibility to preserve and protect places like the Uncompahgre National Forest, Dolores River Canyon, and Chimney Rock for future generations to enjoy and explore. Over 70 percent of voters in Colorado think our national public lands should remain open for the enjoyment of all Americans, and we agree – our land is part of our shared outdoor heritage, and part of what makes this country so great. Simply put, these land grabs are bad for our families, and bad for business. On behalf of Osprey, I urge our elected officials to address these efforts to transfer or sell off our public lands with loud and swift opposition.

 

Dolores River Canyon - photo via San Juan Citizens Alliance/ The Conservation Alliance

Dolores River Canyon.  photo via San Juan Citizens Alliance/ The Conservation Alliance

Uncompahgre management area. photo via Western Colorado Congress/The Conservation Alliance

Uncompahgre management area. photo via Western Colorado Congress/The Conservation Alliance

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Get your Axe into Gear, the Ouray Ice Festival is Here!

January 9th, 2014

What better way to kick off 2014 than with a few jitters, chattering teeth, and a full serving of adrenaline as you carefully choose where to swing your axe next??

That’s what will be happening in the little town of Ouray, Colorado, as people from all over the country travel to Ouray to participate in one of the largest ice festivals in the nation. This will be our 10th year attending and there are MANY reasons we keep coming back!

It will all kick off on Thursday night, January 9th, with presentations and delicious beers brewed in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Read more…

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Window of Opportunity: Tackling Seven Summits From Ophir to Telluride, Colorado

August 16th, 2012

It is funny to me how goal setting can be such an indomitable force. Sometimes I have to strive for something really impossible just to find my motivation, while other times I’ll set my sights too low and be greeted by successful dissatisfaction. I’ve found that balance is harder than executing, especially when the factors are out of your control and dictated by nature. But not this summer… this summer in the mountains has been one of the best, and it just keeps on giving.

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Soaking Up The Last Of San Juan Summer Skiing

June 25th, 2012

The trusty Outback delivers us to the goods

It has been a tough spring here in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. Spring was a complete dud in terms of moisture and delivered little from the skies except numerous big dust storms. The dust made the already dwindling snowpack melt even faster leaving us with conditions that more resemble late July than early June. What can you do but make the best of a bad hand? This past weekend I loaded up the trusty Subaru Outback for a drive up to Clear Lake above Silverton. Numerous long couloirs lead to aprons that end at the lakes edge making for some of the most scenic runs in the regions.

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Travel Tuesday: Hut Tripping In the San Juan Mountains of Colorado

November 1st, 2011

We love a good hut trip, and the San Juans… well, they’re our magical backyard.

via Adventure Journal:

Bob Kingsley spent eight years guiding at Colorado’s famed 10th Mountain Division Huts and found it…frustrating. He wanted to offer people a remote hut that could access easy to intermediate terrain like the 10th Mountain huts and hardcore terrain, too. So ever since that first year guiding he’s been looking for just the right spot to build his own hut. After 16 years of searching and then the last four summers pounding nails, it’s complete, and the Opus Hut, a skin-in, ski-out cabin a few miles from Silverton, is about to open.

And unlike many of the 10th Mountain huts, Opus has something for everyone.

“Right out the back door is Owl Meadow. That’s excellent beginner terrain. Low angle. No avalanche danger,” Kingsley says. More intermediate terrain lies to the south. “That gets a little sun crusted, but bust through and you’re skiing powder through sparse trees right to the valley floor.”

The north-facing slopes of Ophir Pass less than a mile away are steeper and 13,661-foot Lookout Peak right behind the hut has the goods, too. “There are crags and big faces and couloirs,” Kingsley says. And right next door 13,380-foot South Lookout peak has “…phenomenal terrain. There’s enough there to keep me busy for the rest of my life.”

… the bottom line of Opus is that it gets you to the white.

Read the rest here

PHOTO via Opus Hut

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