Letter: For the love of wilderness | AspenTimes.com

Letter: For the love of wilderness

The picture of Smokey Bear in The Aspen Times on Aug. 3 was a treat to see. Smokey is an icon that both grown adults and children delight over. I am fortunate to be part of a nonprofit organization, the Forest Conservancy, that partners with Smokey and the U.S. Forest Service. Our volunteers are often seen in uniform patrolling the trails of the White River National Forest.

On Saturday when the photo of Smokey was taken, many of the Forest Conservancy volunteers who are also master naturalists joined Smokey at the Maroon Bells. We were celebrating Smokey’s 70th birthday, the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and we were sharing our love of flora, fauna and the land with all the visitors. We had tables set up to explain moose, deer, elk, bears, mountain lions and kin, and predator and prey skulls. We had others volunteers helping children appreciate the forest and their responsibility to preserving it. We had wildflower hikes. I had my chef’s hat and apron explaining how to “bake a bell” in 300 million years. We were all there to enhance the visitor’ experience of nature. It was a glorious day in the wilderness.

Donna Grauer


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