Great Old Broads connects people to nature and each other in Grand Junction, Colorado |

Great Old Broads connects people to nature and each other in Grand Junction, Colorado

Brittany Markert
Great Old Broads volunteers worked on the Time Machine Trail, built in April as a collaboration between Mesa Land Trust, Buruea of Land Management, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Assocation and more.
Submitted photo |

Great Old Broads is a nonprofit group of mostly women who volunteer to preserve Colorado’s wilderness. It spearheads many outdoor projects like trail maintenance, restoration work and conservation.

The group meets monthly to discuss upcoming volunteer work as well as meeting with other local organizations like Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to discuss what work Great Old Broads can do to help.

“We work primarily as an advocate for public lands and demonstrate that in many ways with volunteering,” Great Old Broads local leader Sherry Schenk said. “It’s a win-win for both organizations. We get to be outside, observe and report, and BLM receives information they otherwise wouldn’t get.”

According to its website, Great Old Broads started as a nationwide organization 25 years ago “that engages and ignites the activism of elders to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.”

Grand Junction’s chapter started eight years ago with only a few members. Today it has grown to approximately 60 members. While the name implies the group is primarily made up of older women, men and younger women are also part of the group. Membership costs a minimum of $35 annually.

Great Old Broads members recently worked on the creation of a new local hiking and biking trail called “Time Machine.” They helped ensure that plants were protected and reseeded.

“The Great Old Broads are a group of dedicated women making great things happen,” said Libby Collins, Mesa Land Trust’s project manager. “Sherry has advanced restoration and conservation on the Three Sisters and enthusiastically engaged our community in making our lands around us more beautiful and enjoyable.”

According to Schenk, she personally enjoys working with the younger volunteer groups like Hilltop Trail Crew as often as possible.

“It helps with the energy level of many members who are older,” she said.

Great Old Broads works to answer questions about why wilderness areas are valuable as well.

“We want to create a healthy environment,” Schenk said.

Creating connection between volunteers is additionally important to group dynamics.

“I like the relationships that build out of project work — relationships with people and land,” she said.

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