MAY 21, 2018 BY 

Article adapted from Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Public lands are often places of solitude that offer a chance to connect with nature and explore surrounding habitats and biodiversity, and they represent a defining part of Colorado’s heritage, identity and unique way of life.

“So many of us moved here because of the natural environment and what it provides,” said Sarah Jones, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council executive director. “These lands create a connection for all of us,”

The second annual Colorado Public Lands Day is Saturday with a myriad of free events, stewardship projects and outdoor adventures offered across the state.

Closer to home, YVSC will host a Colorado Public Lands Day Celebration at 5 p.m. Friday at Mountain Tap Brewery on Yampa Street in downtown Steamboat.

“Our hope is to inspire people of all ages to explore, conserve and protect this important natural resource,” Jones said.

At 5:30 p.m., Jones will be speaking about the connection between public lands, climate change and an update on YVSC’s climate action campaign.

Other speakers at the event include Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan, who will lead a discussion on the importance of public lands in Routt County, and State Rep. Dylan Roberts for an update on climate action at the state level.

Mountain Tap will also be brewing a special beer, the Saison “Get Out!”

Anne Mudgett, YVSC communication and development director, was reminded of the importance and significance of public lands when visiting Yosemite National Park with her family over spring break.

“I was struck by all the different visitors and reminded that you don’t have to be an uber athlete or an avid outdoors person to get out and be awed by Bridal Veil Falls or Fish Creek Falls,” she said. “Our public lands really do belong to everyone.

“With the many threats facing our environment, I’m comforted by the fact that our public lands are the legacy we can leave to everyone’s children and grandchildren,” Mudgett continued.

In honor of Colorado Public Lands Day and as part of the organization’s local climate action campaign, YVSC is highlighting the important role that public lands play in helping ecosystems, wildlife and humans adapt to and mitigate climate change.

“With half the land in Routt County owned by its citizens, our local public lands are a tremendous asset as our community looks to the future and works to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change,” Jones said.

What started with the 2018 Talking Green Series featuring speakers and the issue of climate change, YVSC created a campaign to allow the community to get involved by signing the YVSC 2018 Climate Action Pledge, holding people accountable to make small changes throughout the year.

Mudgett said the campaign offers 15 different actions including recycling, alternative transportation, making a home more energy efficient or using fewer single-use items to reduce their carbon footprint.

YVSC will also be bringing back the Commuter Challenge. Families, adult teams and solo riders can sign up to walk, bike, bus or carpool from May 27 to June 27.

“For me, this day is about celebrating those preserved lands we all use and need whether in our own backyard or a national park,” Mudgett said.

Facts about Public Lands Day

According to the recently released Yampa Valley Sustainability Council,

  • Over 35 percent of Colorado’s land area is public land
  • Public lands make up 50-percent of Routt County.

Public lands are directly responsible for:

  • $28 billion in consumer spending
  • 229,000 jobs in outdoor recreation
  • 13 million visitors to Colorado state parks each year
  • 5.8 million visitors to Colorado’s four National Parks

Get outside this weekend to celebrate… 


Guided Hike

10 to 11 a.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Road 129

Black Bear Game Show

7:30 to 8:30 p.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Road 129


Carpenter Ranch Bird Walk

8 to 10 a.m. | The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch, 13250 U.S. Highway 40, Hayden

Guided Wildflower Walk with Karen Vail

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. | USFS Office, 925 Weiss Drive

Colorado Public Lands Day Lunch and Clean-Up

1 to 3 p.m. | Stagecoach State Park, 2550 County Rd. 14, Oak Creek

Guided Hike

2 to 3 p.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Road 129

Colorado Public Lands Day Celebration

5 to 8 p.m.| Mountain Tap Brewery, 910 Yampa St.

Batty about Bats

8 to 9 p.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Road 129

Sunday, May 20 

Guided Hike

10 to 11 a.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Rd. 129

Skins and Skulls

2 to 3 p.m. | Steamboat Lake State Park, 61105 Routt County Rd. 129

Upcoming events

Commuter Challenge

May 27 to June 27 | Downtown Steamboat Springs

Competition encourages participants to leave cars at home and use alternative transportation. Categories consist of a family division, team division, or solo riders.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.