SJMA staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly this year to help care for the incomparable San Juan mountains and inspire the next generation to become stewards, too! Some quick numbers on our work in 2023 (as of November 1st):
- Our education team has provided experiential nature programs to more than 3,500 youth and 1,000 adults since January. With your support in 2022, we were able to purchase another 15-passenger van to better meet the demand for programming.
- Our Visitor Information Service (VIS) Specialists have fielded thousands of questions from visitors exploring the San Juan mountain region - either in person or by phone.
- Our Forest Ambassadors have engaged with more than 27,000 recreationists across 41 trails in the San Juan, Rio Grande, & GMUG National Forests, encouraging them to recreate responsibly and "Leave No Trace."
- SJMA's Wilderness Crew joined the Rio Grande National Forest's (RGNF) Wilderness Crew, and together, they logged out more than 2,600 trees along 376 miles in the RGNF side of the Weminuche Wilderness, improving access for all who want to explore this area.
- Whether it's helping with our stewardship efforts or our education programs, volunteers have leveraged SJMA efforts by dedication more than 4,000 recorded hours of their time!
- SJMA is leading out on one of Colorado's newest regional partnerships for conservation and recreation, the new Southwest Colorado Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (SCCORR).
- We're co-leading the re-establishment of the San Juan Skyway Byway Commission.
Your support makes this all possible. Colorado Gives Day is December 5th, but you can schedule your gift to SJMA now. Please take a minute to show your appreciation for SJMA this year with a donation today.
"I send a very big Thank You to the SJMA Staff and Volunteers for the wonderful Andrew’s Lake Nature Hike yesterday. It was so much fun and an incredible learning experience. Everyone was so knowledgeable, and it was a joy to be a part of their sharing with the participants, as well as with each other. They truly love what they do, and love sharing. What a great time my friend and I had. We talked about all we’d learned all the way back to Durango. Please extend my thanks to each and every one of those special people. It was a memorable time that I hope to do it again and again." - Judy S.
"Thank you for your service! The (Alpine) loop is one of the cleanest trails I travel, especially considering how much use it gets!" - Brian
"I just want to say again how much I appreciate your program! With no father figure in their life and only me, their grandmother, the program offers very useful and extremely enjoyable learning and interactive opportunities that I simply can't provide." - Anonymous
"Seven years ago I came to Durango for a friend’s wedding. I spent a few extra days in town and backpacked Ice Lake Basin and a part of the Colorado trail. These two experiences made me decide to find a way to move to Colorado, so needless to say, Ice Lakes has a special place in my heart.
I had hoped to hike Ice Lakes again once I moved here for nostalgia purposes, but several people warned me the increased popularity has resulted in more trash and the trail just not being the same. They said the SJMA was at the trailhead educating hikers on LNT but it still was just not the same.
I prepared for this to be my experience on Wednesday, and I am very excited to say this is not at all what I experienced myself. The trail looks great, it’s clean and I didn’t see a single piece of trash. The Advertisements and education of LNT at the start of the trail are clear and I imagine helpful for those unfamiliar with the principles.
I wanted to extend my extreme gratitude to you and your team for all you have done and do across the San Juan’s. Ice Lakes has a special place for me since it led to me packing up my life and moving from the Midwest and I was very happy to see it was still just as clean and well-maintained as the day I hiked it seven years ago. Please pass on my gratitude to your team because I’m sure they don’t receive enough for all the hard work and education they do with the public. " - Brett P.