Friends of the Yampa: New Members of the Friends Grassroots Network
The Conservation Lands Foundation is pleased to welcome Friends of the Yampa based in Steamboat Springs, CO as new partners and members of the Friends Grassroots Network. The Network is made up of 50+ non-profit organizations throughout the western states (and one in Florida) that are stewards and advocates for various places that are part of the National Conservation Lands.
Friends of the Yampa have been stewards of this great river and surrounding lands in northwest Colorado since 1981. The Yampa River forms at the confluence of the Bear River and Philips Creek in northwest Colorado’s Routt County. It flows through Steamboat Springs, turns abruptly west, and eventually flows through Dinosaur National Monument where it joins the Green River at Echo Park. The Yampa River is the largest and longest tributary of the Colorado River that remains in its free-flowing state.
A number of Wilderness Study Areas managed by the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office are in the basin, as well as many areas with wilderness characteristics. Four Wilderness Study Areas lie north of Dinosaur National Monument (Ant Hills, Chew Winter Camp, Peterson Draw, and Vale of Tears). Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study Area is west of Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge and is 37,015 acres. Cross Mountain Wilderness Study Area is 14,980 acres and includes Cross Mountain Canyon—a 1,000-foot deep canyon where the Yampa rages below and offers outstanding whitewater for advanced kayakers and rafters.
Friends of the Yampa’s mission is to protect and enhance the river’s environmental and recreational integrity through stewardship, advocacy, education and partnerships. An all-volunteer organization, the group organizes clean-ups, hosts community forums about the river and its tributaries, helps fund and build river features and habitat, and participates in a variety of local, regional and national policy efforts and campaigns.
- This January 9, 2014 article in Steamboat Today describes the group’s collaboration with the city to build a future takeout ramp for boaters.
- Yampa River Awareness Project is the group’s annual trip down the river with elected officials, water administrators, members of the media, river advocates and others, organized to educate and brainstorm ways to maintain the Yampa’s incredible attributes and wildness.
- Earth Island Journal published a great article in its Winter 2014 issue about the Yampa River basin—touching on past and recent attempts to dam it and harness its water, the oil and gas interests currently eying the area, and the many reasons this river needs advocates and local conservationists to speak up for it.
Volunteers with Friends of the Yampa have been and will continue to be those successful advocates. Staff members at the Conservation Lands Foundation are happy to have the group in the Network and are looking forward to working with Friends of the Yampa. (photo courtesy of Friends of the Yampa)