From Solo Trailhead Cleanup To Virtual Film Screenings, Groups Honor Colorado Public Lands Day Under COVID-19

May 16, 2020
Two Bureau of Land Management rangers walk through the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, which is on Colorado's Western Slope, south of Grand Junction.Two Bureau of Land Management rangers walk through the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, which is on Colorado's Western Slope, south of Grand Junction.Bob Wick/BLM
Two Bureau of Land Management rangers walk through the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, which is on Colorado's Western Slope, south of Grand Junction.

Colorado Public Lands Day won’t have any big festivals or public speeches by politicians or other noteworthy guests Saturday. But environmental groups are still encouraging people to engage with the outdoors in a meaningful way.

“With the pandemic right now we’re encouraging people to visit their favorite places virtually or stay in their neighborhoods, or even their backyards, because public lands will be waiting for us when we get through this,” said Gabriel Otero, Colorado Plateau representative for the Wilderness Society.

A brief scan of the site Colorado Public Lands Day offers people the chance to do solo trailhead clean up, screen public lands documentaries, and join online discussions. For Otero, one conversation that’s been top of mind is making access to parks and public lands more inclusive. 

He wants to see more diversity among those who recreate and appreciate the greater outdoors.

“I’m hoping families are having these discussions around their dinner tables about their next adventure understanding the importance of open spaces for all of us and our well-being,” he said.

Otero is a member of Next 100 Colorado, which received a $75,000 grant to drive more diversity and inclusion in public lands participation. 

The first rollout will come next month when the group will launch a mentorship program for people of color and Indigenous people who work in conservation, public lands or outdoor recreation.