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Navajo State Park features carvings and other impressions

Lasting impressions of the natural and cultural history of Navajo State Park may be as obvious as an animal track on the beach or as abstract as the story of a former resident of the area.

This weekend’s programs, while discussing the obvious imprints left on land or the carvings on trees, have much broader tales to tell about the amazing wildlife and the creative people of Archuleta County.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the afternoon Kids’ Corner topic highlights “Animal Tracks.” Guest educator Pat Hauschild will teach children ages 4 and older about the exciting study of mammal tracking and the stories revealed by those tracks on the ground. Some fun activities will help them learn about the animals that created those tracks while offering practice with some tools of the trade. This 45-60 minute program begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Visitor Center Pavilion. Younger children must be accompanied by an adult.

At 7 p.m., Navajo will host “Artists of the Forest”, a special presentation by guest speaker Peggy Bergon. During the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, Hispanic sheepherders, away from loved ones for months at a time, expressed their loneliness and boredom on the vast canvas available to them — the soft white bark of the aspen tree. These carvings are known as arborglyphs, which means “tree writing.” Visions of home, hearth and missed loved ones adorn thousands of trees all through the forest. For many years, Bergon has been photographing these carvings and has amassed a collection of 4,500 photographs, some of which she’ll share while relating the fascinating history of sheep and the men who cared for them in the Southwest and Archuleta County. This program will be held in the Visitor Center Conference Room.

While personal guided hikes are temporarily suspended for this coming weekend, another fun way for families with children ages 3 to 13 to enjoy Navajo is to check out one of our Family Fun Packs. Filled with books, binoculars, field guides and other useful tools of discovery, these backpacks are free to borrow during your own time of natural and cultural exploration at the park. Come to the Visitor Center and check one out today!

All events in the park are free with a Colorado State Parks pass. Call 883-2208 for more information or log on to the park’s website at www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/Navajo.

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