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Navajo State Park holds final programs for season

Navajo State Park may be a small part of the state of Colorado, but within its borders lie many cultural and natural influences. The events being held this coming Labor Day weekend close the summer season of programming with a variety of fun and interesting topics that reflect a few of those influences.

For children ages 4 and older, two afternoon Kids’ Corner programs will be offered.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, at “Geology Rocks!,” kids can take part in fun activities to learn about rocks, plate tectonics and rock formations.

In “The Bear Facts,” on Sunday, Sept. 4, the park naturalist will lead children on a mock bear hunt for clues to learn about the habits and behavior of black bears. Both programs are approximately 45 minutes long and begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Visitor Center Pavilion. Younger children must be accompanied by an adult.

On Saturday evening at 7 p.m., Navajo welcomes the San Juan Back Country Horsemen.

Members of the group will talk about their purpose and mission to be ethical stewards of the land through private practice, as well as through political and community involvement. They will also talk about their work to educate and encourage others to do the same for the sake of a healthy, enjoyable backcountry experience while on horseback. Join the Back Country Horsemen and a few of their equine friends at the park amphitheater.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., join Pat Jackson, founder and executive director of the St. Francis Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehabilitation in Arboles. After a short video, Pat will discuss her experiences and methods of helping the birds that find refuge at the center and what is done to help them adjust to life back in the wild. Business opportunities brought Pat and her husband, Rolly, to Pagosa Springs in 1982.?Based on a long standing interest and passion, Pat eventually left the business world to start this marvelous sanctuary in 2004, the only facility of its kind in southwest Colorado. This program will be held in the Visitor Center Conference Room.

For a little more activity and exploration of the park, join the park naturalist on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. for a walk in the woods and sagebrush along the Piedra River trail. Bring binoculars and plenty of water, and be prepared for any kind of weather as we explore the plants, animals and waterways that inhabit and influence the northern area of Navajo Lake. This walk will last about two hours and traverse over two to three miles of easy to moderate terrain. Meet at the Watchable Wildlife Pavilion located on Colo. 151.

The last opportunity for personally guided hikes with the park naturalist will be offered on Saturday and Monday of the holiday weekend from 9 a.m. to noon Twenty-four hour advance notice is required.

One other 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.

Attracting more than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado’s 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 224,447 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks is a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,300 campsites and 63 cabins, yurts and tipis.?

For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit www.parks.state.co.us.

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