FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2012
Rebecca Silver, Sierra Club, Rebecca.Silver@sierraclub.org, 212-791-3600
Jeff Wolin, National Park Service, Jeff_Wolin@nps.org, 719-748-3253
Joshua Baruch, CWRAG, Joshua@cwrag.com, 720-242-9828
Service Members reconnect with public lands they fight to defend
Sierra Club, National Park Service and Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides collaborate to facilitate meaningful outdoor experience for vets
(COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Feb. 13, 2012) – On February 18, 2012, 10 airmen from Peterson Air Force Base and 10 soldiers from Fort Carson will convene at Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Curecanti National Recreation Area for a free, adventure-packed weekend. The service members will camp, snowshoe and cross country ski along the snowy rim of the magnificent Black Canyon and they will ice fish on the frozen reservoir at Curecanti National Recreation Area.
The Sierra Club, Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides (CWRAG) and the National Park Service (NPS) forged a unique partnership to organize and execute this inaugural “Post to Parks” event. Motivated by the belief that time in the outdoors eases the transition back to civilian life, these groups joined forces to create an opportunity for soldiers to build community and reconnect with the grounds they served to defend.
“We know that outdoor experiences are fundamental to reintegration and we want to say thank you to our service members in a meaningful way,” said Stacy Bare, a veteran, outdoor enthusiast and head of the Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiatives, a major sponsor of the event. “Working together with the National Park Service and other partners allows us to ensure these vets can explore and enjoy the lands they help to protect.”
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area are hosting the trip while Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, through its “Post to Parks Program,” is acting as the liaison between all groups. “The National Park Service is excited to help connect the military community with their parks,” said Jeff Wolin, a park ranger at Florissant National Monument. “Our director, Jon Jarvis, recently said ‘We need to prepare parks for one million returning veterans and their families where they can reestablish themselves, find peace and quiet.’ That's what this trip is all about.”
The Ft. Carson Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program, Peterson Air Force Base’s Airmen and Family Readiness Office, and the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program have provided extensive support and coordination for this effort. “The cooperation and meaningful collaboration of eight different organizations is setting a new standard for what we can accomplish together to serve and support the men and women of our Armed Forces,” added Bare.
Boulder-based Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides, a leading supporter of another veteran outdoor focused non-profit, Veterans Expeditions, will coordinate the logistics of the trip and provide transportation. Owner and Senior Guide Joshua Baruch, who grew up in a military household, and his mother, Heidi Baruch, a nurse who served two tours in Vietnam, will help lead the trip.
Planning is already underway for future trips that will allow more active-duty, National Guard, reservists, veterans, and their families explore our National Parks and Public Lands in 2012. More information can be found at: www.sierraclub.org/military or http://www.coloradowildernessridesandguides.com.
About National Park Service
Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But our work doesn't stop there. We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov.
About the Military Families and Veterans Initiative
Sierra Club's Military Families and Veterans Initiative is part of Mission Outdoors, the Sierra Club’s campaign to provide access to outdoor experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds. MFVI makes available a variety of opportunities for American Military Service Members, Veterans, and their families to experience the freedom of the land they defend. For more information, please visit http://www.sierraclub.org/military.
About Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides
Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides is an outdoor adventure company based in Boulder, Colorado. CWRAG specializes in guided trips, team building, event planning, and wilderness themed transportation services. Founded in 2009 by Joshua Baruch, CWRAG provides each guest with a unique mountain travel experience and serves as an adventure hub and educational center for individuals and groups. For more information about Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides, please visit http://www.coloradowildernessridesandguides.com.