Connecting Native Youth with Ancient Roots

17 December 2017 Published in News

Canyon Country Discovery Center teamed up with the National Indian Youth Leadership Project to take two groups of middle school students from the Navajo and Pueblo tribes camping, rafting, and hiking in the Bears Ears National Monument. Participants floated the San Juan River through red rock canyons alongside petroglyph-covered cliffs that were inhabited over 800-years-ago. The San Juan River is the lifeline for many of the tribes in the Four Corners region and holds a notable place in the heart of all the residents who call this arid desert home.

After an eye-opening day rafting and learning about canyon geology, everyone had a chance to give back to the community by cleaning up and restoring a heavily used recreation area. Participants spent time discussing their responsibility to help maintain the public lands that we’re all so lucky to enjoy. Most public lands users are unaware of how much land managers rely on volunteers to help keep the places we play protected, and our participants left the volunteer project knowing the next group will enjoy the area as much as they did.

Ultimately, given the historically low participation rates of youth in outdoor recreation it is important to build bridges and provide opportunities so everyone can appreciate and explore our public lands and waterways. Through this partnership, the Canyon Country Discovery Center and National Indian Youth Leadership Project were able to provide educational and meaningful opportunities for regional youth to get out and learn new ways of enjoying their surroundings.

We want to thank our partners for supporting life changing experiences for youth; Osprey Packs, Sea to Summit, and GSI for helping our programs be successful.


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