Like to Hike? Hidden Gems series gets you on the trail | PostIndependent.com

Like to Hike? Hidden Gems series gets you on the trail

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Todd Patrick Special to the Post IndependentThe Thompson Creek Fins, on the Thompson Creek Trail, is just one of the natural wonders the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign has proposed for wilderness designation. An organized horseback ride through the area is planned for Aug. 9.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Amity Ludders enjoys a good hike. Hiking in the No Name Canyon was one of the reasons, she says, that she made Glenwood Springs her home, three years ago.

“I’ve hiked up there a lot,” Ludders said. “I really like the area.”

And her passion fits her purpose of being a hike leader for the No Name Canyon hike she will lead on June 4. This particular hike is the first in a series of free group hikes organized by the Wilderness Workshop in Carbondale as part of their Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign.

The Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign is advocating for more than 600,000 acres of new wilderness lands in and around the White River National Forest. Their proposal includes significant expansions of the Flat Tops, Maroon Bells-Snowmass and other existing wilderness areas, as well as several major new wildernesses along the flanks of the Flat Tops and in the Thompson Creek area.

Wilderness Workshop executive director Sloan Shoemaker said the organization has been working on a proposal to designate certain areas with Wilderness status for many years and these organized hikes are one way for them to get their message to the community.

“We think there is a clear equation between getting people in wilderness areas and inspiring them to see a need for this,” Shoemaker said. “That is what we are trying to accomplish with these hikes.”

It’s something that Ludders feels very strongly about as well, and being a hike leader is one way she could help out. Her familiarity of the No Name Creek Trail will be a good way for people that have never been on the trail to enjoy the day and learn more about the wilderness areas that surround much of Glenwood Springs and cover a large portion of the Roaring Fork Valley.

“When you do the long hikes you are crossing a lot of different lands, from Bureau of Land Management to National Forest lands. And the thing I’m always struck by in the wilderness areas is that you always see a more healthy environment,” Ludders said.

“It’s that feeling that the land is protected.”

Protecting the roadless areas is one of the main goals of the campaign, according to Shoemaker.

“We are not trying to create wilderness where there are existing roads,” Shoemaker said. “We are not looking to close legitimate roads. The nature of our proposal is for all of the land to remain open.”

So, getting people out on the trail is a good way for them to learn about the campaign, while experiencing the great outdoors, too.

“With these hikes, when people see and touch nature themselves, they begin to understand its unique values,” Shoemaker said. “We hope to convert their passion for the outdoors into advocacy. These hikes are a way to build people’s awareness for these areas and to build a base of supporters that is ready to speak up for protection of these areas.”

There were a few organized hikes last year, Shoemaker said, but this year they are really pushing the limit with 23 hikes spanning five counties, including Summit, Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison.

The No Name Creek hike will kick off the 2008 season and will start at the No Name (Jesse Weaver) Trail at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. People are asked to RSVP the hike leader for information on how to prepare and what to expect on the trail. These guided hikes are limited to 15 people per trip.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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