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Wilderness skills and railroad thrills at Navajo State Park

A little variety is in store this weekend as Navajo State Park continues its summer programs that focus on the southwestern Colorado park’s natural surroundings and some of its more modern history.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, children ages four and older can learn about staying found in the wilderness at the afternoon Kids’ Corner: Survival Skills 101. The park naturalist will help the children assemble individual survival kits while discussing the basic necessities to carry and practicing the things to do in case of an emergency while outdoors. This 45-minute program begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Navajo State Park Visitor Center Pavilion. Younger children must be accompanied by an adult.

Later in the evening at 7 p.m., Navajo welcomes guest speaker, John Porco, who will present “The Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad.”? Porco, a volunteer docent on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, will discuss the history of the narrow gauge line and its operation over the years, particularly in the Arboles area. Lots of interesting photos, both of the railroad in its heyday and of its current traces, will highlight the program.? Porco resides in Pagosa Springs and has been a railroad fan for nearly 60 years with a particular interest in the Durango & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge line. This special presentation will be held in the park’s Visitor Center Conference Room.

If you would like to learn more about the area while walking along one of the old railroad beds in the park, Navajo continues to offer personally guided hikes with the park naturalist. Whether your particular interest lies in the history of the railroad or in the natural history that now overtakes those old rail beds, the park naturalist will be happy to tailor a hike to you or your group’s interests and abilities. This service will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon through Labor Day. Twenty-four hour advance notice is required. Naturalist-led hikes on other days of the week can be scheduled at your convenience, as well, with more advanced notice.

Another fun way for families with children ages three to thirteen 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 Navajo State Park 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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