The goal is to educate the public about the wilderness study areas; a stargazing event will also take place for the autumnal equinox
Guided wilderness hikes are offered this fall by the Bureau of Land Management and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
The free hikes focus on exploring more remote nature study areas, said museum director Ray O’Neil.
“They are not visited as much. It’s a great opportunity to visit with a knowledgeable guide and learn about the nature study areas,” he said.
Space is limited. Call 970-882-5600 to register during business hours, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bring a lunch bag, plenty of water, sun protection, and a sense of adventure. Be prepared to carpool and bring a four-wheel-drive vehicle if you have one.
- September 9: Weber Mountain WSA, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hike is 8 km round trip and reaches the summit. Meet at the south end of Boyle Park in Mancos. The route is classified as “difficult in steep terrain”. The guide is Jeff Morris, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner.
- September 16: Menefee Mountain WSA, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet at the south end of Boyle Park in Mancos. The hike is 2-3 miles round trip through moderate terrain in a burnt area along a two-lane road. The guide is recreation planner Jeff Morris.
- September 28: Cahone WSA, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 4 miles round trip on an old dirt road. Meet at the Pleasant View Post Office, 26070 US Highway 491, Pleasant View. Park near the dumpster in the back. Marian Rohman, CANM volunteer, botanist and archaeologist will lead the hike.
The 4 mile hike follows an old dirt road and crosses country through scrub and juniper woods. Hikers will visit a walled enclosure in the spring, discover unique species of golden-flowered rabbits, and visit historical and prehistoric archaeological sites. Rohman and her husband, Peter Rohman, have been conducting botanical surveys throughout the monument for decades. She will discuss how the concept of wilderness influences their work.
After meeting at the post office, people will carpool to the Cahone WSA from there. The gravel road leading to the WSA entrance is accessible to 2WD vehicles. The hike may be canceled in the event of heavy rain. The guides will assess the weather conditions on Tuesday September 27 to make the final decision to proceed or cancel. Participants will be contacted if the hike is cancelled.
- Oct. 22 Cross Canyon WSA, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hike is 5 miles round trip. Meet at the Lewis Post Office, 18794 US Highway 491.
The 8km hike is on mostly flat terrain, with several shallow crossings of Cross Creek, which may or may not hold water at this time of year. The hike crosses groves of poplars. The hike will be led by Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance Board Member Chris Barns. Barns retired in 2015 as a BLM representative at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, was lead author of BLM’s Wilderness and Wilderness Study Area policies, and has co-authored several law journal articles on stewardship and wilderness history. He will discuss the establishment, management and differences between Designated Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas during the hike.
The hike may be canceled in the event of heavy rain. The guides will assess the weather conditions on Tuesday September 27 to make the final decision to proceed or cancel. Participants will be contacted if the hike is cancelled.
- Additionally, on September 22, from 8-10 p.m., CANM will host a free Fall Equinox Star Party at the Visitor Center, located on Colorado Route 184 3 miles west of Dolores. .
The family event explores human connections with stars, constellations and celestial objects.
The guest speaker will be archaeologist Mary Weahkee from the Pueblo de Santa Clara. Weahkee works as an archaeologist for the State of New Mexico and will discuss bridging the gap between cultures using the sky as a common experience.
Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, the Vortex Galaxy and the Ring Nebula will be visible and enhanced by telescopes. Bring your telescopes, binoculars, red lens flashlights, family, friends, star stories and questions.
The Society for Cultural Astronomy in the American Southwest and the San Juan Mountains Association are co-hosting the event. In the event of inclement weather, presentations will be moved indoors.