Back Country Horsemen and Girl Scouts team up for National Public Lands Day

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Photo courtesy Lisa Nelson
Alice Gradwell of San Juan Back Country Horsemen trims vegetation near the Treasure Falls trailhead.

By Lisa Nelson
San Juan Back Country Horsemen

The San Juan Back Country Horsemen (SJBCH) joined forces with Girl Scout Troop 25075 to clean up the Treasure Falls parking area and trail for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Fourteen SJBCH members and 10 Girl Scouts and their leaders wielded shovels, picks, axes, Pulaskis, loppers, grinders, rakes, brooms and weed whackers — and plenty of garbage bags — to spruce up the area. Together, they picked up about 100 pounds of trash, trimmed brush from the trail to the falls, removed graffiti from the iron safety railing, cleared weeds from throughout the parking area, removed dangerous tripping hazards on the high-use trail and trimmed overgrown bushes around the parking lot.

“I was impressed with the hard work of everyone involved, which included volunteers from about age 5 to 80,” said Annie Pack, who organized the event that was sponsored by SJBCH. “Treasure Falls is not a horseback trail, but it’s part of our public lands on the Pagosa Ranger District and we value every acre of public land. This trail gets an enormous amount of use and, unfortunately, a fair amount of abuse. These are our lands and we have to do our part to help protect them.” 

She added, “Treasure Falls is a spectacular natural feature and an impressive gateway to our Pagosa community. It is indeed a treasure.” 

Girl Scout Ava Milburn said she wanted to participate in the event because, “I like to be outside a lot and clean up my neighborhood. This (National Public Lands Day) was a chance to do something else besides my neighborhood.” 

Milburn added, “It’s our forest and a lot of people are taking advantage of our open space and throwing their trash.”

The Girl Scouts picked up a lot of the debris left by a semi-truck and trailer loaded with beverage cans that overturned near the entrance to the parking area a few weeks ago. They worked hard and got much of it cleaned up.

Photo courtesy Lisa Nelson
Kate Yoklavich (left) of San Juan Back Country Horsemen, Girl Scout Ava Milburn and Girl Scout leader Katie Betts spruce up the Treasure Falls area.

“What our groups accomplished on National Public Lands Day shows that everyone can make a difference,” Pack said.