Chapter Leadership Team Updates
Central West Slope Assistant Regional Director Leslie Kaminski was one of the top BHA Hike To Hunt fundraisers! Well done, Leslie! The chapter also appointed Amber Leach to serve as a Southeast Colorado Assistant Regional Director. In addition, we appointed four Northern Colorado Assistant Regional Directors, including Zack Scott, Jon Lang, Graham Geary and Trenton Budish. Thank you Amber, Zack, Jon, Graham and Trenton! For additional information see:
- “Hike To Hunt 2021: The Final Results.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: August 2021.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint [Amber Leach] Southeast Colorado Assistant Regional Director.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/21/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Two [Zack Scott and Jon Lang] Northern Colorado Assistant Regional Directors.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/14/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Northern Colorado Assistant Regional Director [Graham Geary].” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/5/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Northern Colorado Assistant Regional Director [U.S. Army veteran Trenton Budish].” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/5/21.
Women in the Woods (WitW)/Elk Hunting
Colorado BHA Board/Executive Leadership Team (ELT) member Kassi Smith organized BHA’s first “Women in the Woods Elk Camp,” launching a series of beginners hunting, fishing and angling weekends designed to pair novice sportswomen with seasoned mentors. This WitW Elk Camp included six mentees, three mentors and a several volunteers in southwest Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
“We launched Women in the Woods Elk Camp to provide an immersive big game hunting experience,” Kassi said. Kassi also recently held our second Women in the Woods (WitW) Camp, hosting 20 new fly fishers alongside Michele White of Tumbling Trout and Erin Crider of Colorado Women on the Fly. Colorado BHA Co-Chair David Lien said, “Kassie is an R3 machine.”
Next up, Women in the Woods Waterfowl and Upland Game Camp, which offers a hands-on two and a half day educational hunting experience (Oct. 15-17). Our friends at Heritage Sporting Club along with volunteers will provide 2 to 1 mentoring. The ticket price goes directly towards the expense of running Camp, and our Colorado chapter will be subsidizing over 50% of the camp.
In the same vein, Northern Colorado Regional Director Sam Williamson spearheaded an “Elk Calling Seminar and Contest” at the Fort Collins Archery Range. Tom Diesing, owner of Mile High Note Game Calls, joined in along with his son (and friend, CJ) and gave a highly informative and engaging seminar on elk calling. Tom and his son are both world class champion elk callers with years of experience in both hunting and calling contests. “The Northern Colorado Group is firing on all cylinders thanks to Sam and his growing group of selfless, boots on the ground leaders,” said chapter Co-Chair David Lien.
Stream Access/Habitat Protection/Forest Planning
Chapter Co-Chair Don Holmstrom led a conversation with the state’s Attorney General (AG) office highlighting our concerns around stream access and the need for the AG’s leadership to address what are some of the most restrictive stream access laws in the country. The Colorado chapter has asked Attorney General Weiser to support public access to our public waters.
Central West Slope Assistant Regional Director Adam Gall (also the recipient of BHA’s 2020 Jim Posewitz Award) submitted comments on the Jumbo Mountain Trail plan, saying (in part):
“Going back as recently as 10-15 years ago and well beyond, the Jumbo Mountain area [adjacent to the town of Paonia] was predominantly a healthy winter range for herds of elk and mule deer … Fast forward to today and you will find almost no elk in the Jumbo area and a fraction of the deer population. Numbers of both species in the valley and surrounding high country are down … Several decades ago … trails were pirated in, meaning there was no oversight, inspection or approval from the BLM.”
“Fast forwarding once again to present day and the simple ‘pirated trail network’ has become a labyrinth of trails crisscrossing and switchbacking up every acre of Jumbo Mountain. New trails have been illegally put in and the necessary habitat for wildlife has been seriously compromised. The trail density is well beyond that suggested by Colorado Parks and Wildilfe’s Guide to Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind (see Appendix A for trail density recommendations on elk and mule deer).”
Central West Slope Regional Director/ELT member Craig Grother has been leading chapter efforts on the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison (GMUG) forest plan revision, collaborating with partner organizations, agencies, and departments. The public comment deadline for the GMUG is 11/12 and we are in the process of developing our technical comments and leading public comment writing workshops to generate additional comments from our members to bolster support for planning components that benefit wildlife. For additional information see:
- “Colorado’s 2021 Guide for Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind.” Appendix A includes standard protocols for how and where the trails are developed (i.e., Avoid, Minimize, Mitigate).
- Sylvia Kantor. “Seeking Ground Less Traveled: Elk Responses to Recreation.” Science Findings #219 (U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station): September 2019. https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi219.pdf
- “Colorado BHA Report: Impacts of Off-Road Recreation on Public Lands Habitat.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/21/18.
- A set of related studies compiled by Keep Routt Wild.
Zephyr Mine Proposal
Colorado BHA has also submitted comments regarding a proposed gold mine in the foothills that serve as a scenic backdrop south and west of Cañon City. Zephyr Minerals Ltd. (Zephyr), a publicly traded Canadian company located in Nova Scotia, is currently applying for applicable mining permits. The proposed mine lies within the watershed of Grape Creek.
Drainage from Dawson Mountain runs through the middle of the proposed mining facility and into an existing wash that empties into Grape Creek, 2.5 miles away. A heavy rain event could wash contaminants from the mining site into Grape Creek. Roughly one mile downstream from this point, Grape Creek enters the Arkansas River. One-half a mile further downstream is the City of Cañon City Water Department (CCWD) water intake.
“In some places mining should not be allowed to proceed because the identified risks to other resources, such as water and wildlife, are too great,” said Colorado BHA Co-Chair David Lien. “No mine should be developed adjacent to a critical water source. The only acceptable risk is zero risk where irreplaceable water resources could be jeopardized. This is simply, without a doubt, the wrong mine in the wrong place.”
BHA Rendezvous/Hal Herring
For those who weren’t able to attend the BHA North American Rendezvous at Fort Missoula earlier this year (June 3-5, 2021), one of the highlights was Hal Herring (host of BHA’s Podcast & Blast and Ted Trueblood Award recipient) inspiring and reminding us (via a cautionary tale) about what we’ve gained and could very well lose without the constant sacrifice and vigilance of public land owners/patriots across the country and continent: “2021 Rendezvous Recap-Campfire Stories: Hal Herring.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/1/21.
Top Chapter Highlights (75 word max.)
- Amber Leach volunteered to serve as a Southeast Colorado Assistant Regional Director.
- We also have four new Northern Colorado Assistant Regional Directors: Zack Scott, Jon Lang, Graham Geary and Trenton Budish.
- Central West Slope Assistant Regional Director Leslie Kaminski was one of the top BHA Hike To Hunt fundraisers!
- Executive Leadership Team/Board member Kassi Smith organized BHA’s first “Women in the Woods Elk Camp.”