Monday, June 9, 2014

Hitting the Trail Once Again for Nature Education

A few weeks ago, I found myself in front of a small group of people from around the country who had flown in for a retreat at the Horseshoe Lodge. I was presenting on my adventures along the Colorado Trail that I did a few years ago. It was a pleasure to relive the many miles of amazing scenery, sharing stories of the trail, and connecting the adventure to the reason behind it – to raise funds for MPEC’s Nature education programs.

 Last year, I got word through the Colorado Trail Foundation – the organization that stewards the trial – that the Colorado Trail was expanded to include 80 additional miles of trail through the spectacular Collegiate Peaks, home to a dozen of the state's 14,000-foot mountains. The new "Collegiate West" forms a western complement to the classic 80-mile stretch of Colorado Trail on the eastern side of the Collegiate Peaks from Twin Lakes, southwest of Leadville, to south of Monarch Pass, southwest of Salida.

It did not take long for me to come up with the idea that I needed to hike this new 80-mile stretch. Along with learning about the new section of trail, last year presented MPEC with some budget challenges associated with some unexpected expenses while dealing with cuts from some funding sources. The fact is that many local non-profits have not felt any significant improvements since the economy took a nosedive several years ago.

Since the original Colorado Trail Fund-Raising effort was a success, it only makes sense that this new section of trail is providing another opportunity for MPEC. So, sometime this summer, I will be backpacking these new 80 miles with the intention of raising money for MPEC’s Nature education programs. We have set a goal of raising $24,000 from the hike, which translates to $300 per mile. Please consider making a pledge to what we are calling Ranger Dave’s Collegiate West Fund-Raising Backpack for Nature Education. You can go to MPEC's website, click on the Help MPEC Grow icon on the lower right of the page, and then choose Ranger Dave’s Backpack as the donation category. Every penny that is raised will directly support MPEC’s programs that help children experience the wonders of Nature. Thanks so much!

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