Sunday, September 27, 2009

National Public Lands Day

Yesterday Desert Boy and I went to participate in National Public Lands Day, a nationwide effort to help improve public lands. There was a site not far from our house. When we got there, volunteers were already working on building a new fence and trailhead area for a relatively new hiking/mountain bike trail at the Sacramento Pass Recreation Area. 

Here's a view of those volunteers from a different angle. 

We hurried to catch up with one of the groups of kids that was hiking on the trail. Part of the day was dedicated to getting kids more involved with nature and appreciating the public lands around them. 

BLM and National Park Service rangers led this group of energetic kids. There were also three other groups. Desert Boy thought it was great to go hiking and wear his backpack again.

We stopped to listen to a BLM biologist talk about the components of a healthy human ecosystem. The kids liked the presentation, especially her analogies to chocolate chip cookies and receiving one at the end. Desert Boy went right to the front of the line to get a cookie. I guess he's got a bit of a sweet tooth. 

Wonder where he got that from?

We had to take a break along the trail a little while later so that some of the kids could go "water the trees." I'm sure that was part of the fun of the hike for them. They also really liked squirting each other with their water bottles.

Next we found a BLM wildlife biologist who talked about healthy natural ecosystems, using pinyon jays and pinyon pines as an example. He had some pine nuts for everyone to snack on. The hike had whetted everyone's appetite, so they were consumed rapidly! 

We hiked a bit further on and met up with a Forest Service ranger who talked about Leave No Trace principles. The kids seemed to understand what that meant--hopefully they'll actually practice it, too!

Then it was time to finish the mile and a half long hike. Desert Boy walked it all, even though he asked to be picked up a couple of times. He got very excited at the end because he saw a school bus that would take us back down to the trailhead, and he loves school buses. He couldn't wait to get on it.

But first we met Smokey Bear, who was celebrating his 65th birthday. Desert Boy approached cautiously...

...and then gave him a tentative hug.

Back at the trailhead, grills were going with hamburgers, hot dogs, and chorizos for a yummy lunch.

The kids crowded the picnic tables to eat. 

Afterwards, Desert Boy found some friendly labs who didn't mind being petted and laid on. I knew that Desert Boy was getting a little tired, so it was time for us to leave. (He fell asleep in the car before we even left the parking lot.) 

I had never known the trail existed, and in fact there are even more new trails in that area, so we'll have to go back and check them out. It obviously took a lot of work and coordination to pull off a successful National Public Lands Day, and thank you to everyone who contributed. We appreciate your efforts! 

And as a reminder about public lands, tonight begins the weeklong documentary series about the National Parks. Can't wait to watch!

4 comments:

Gayle A. Robison, DVM said...

Pine nuts - YUMMMMMMM!!! Them and venison jerky are my favorite Nevada foods.

I hear there are a whole lot of elk up on Sacramento Pass these days. I would love to see them. With increased access due to ACTUAL TRAILS (lol) maybe I will some day.

Carol said...

A fun way to do some good. Next time you visit my blog..click on the "pick it up" button. I realize when you are hiking you don't want to carry more than necessary..but perhaps a small mesh bag to put some trash in?

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

jendoop said...

I didn't know yesterday was public lands day. We did watch the PBS show about the parks (awesome!). Even though I forgot to remind about it on my blog. I'll have to do that today.

Your post reminded me of the time my oldest daughter and I helped restore a trail in CO. It was hard work, but fun to work with others that love the outdoors as much as we do.

Rake said...

I love Sacramento Pass. It's a great place to take some photos and NOT leave a mess!
I saw the REAL Smokey Bear at the National Zoo in DC when I was a young boy, just a few years older than D.B. By that time, Smokey was already kind of old and grumpy, as we oldsters get, but it was still pretty neat.
Give me best to all the Bakers and Baker-ites!

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