Colorado Mountain Club: The Voice of Colorado’s Mountains

America’s public lands received a veritable threat in April when President Trump issued an executive order to review the national monument designations. The order mandates the Secretary of the Interior with the task of reviewing all designations (or expansions of designations) under the Antiquities Act made since January 1,1996 where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, or, “where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.” From the slickrock spires of Grand Staircase-Escalante to the turquoise depths of the Pacific Remote Islands, the order places at least 20 – and as many as 40 – monuments on the government’s hit list.

We at Ibex (along with over 70 other organizations) have added our name to an open letter to Secretary Zinke urging him to listen to the will of the people; luckily, our voice is bolstered by the efforts of our friends putting in hours and miles at the ground level. The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC), one of Colorado’s oldest advocacy and recreation groups has always been an active advocate for protection, access, and stewardship of public lands on a local, state, and national level; as the “voice of Colorado’s mountains,” these days, the CMC is speaking louder than ever.

“Primarily we represent human-powered recreationists – specifically hikers and mountaineers – as well as backcountry winter users (skiers, snowshoers, etc.) through our Backcountry Snowsports Initiative,” says CMC’s Conservation Director, Julie Mach. “We weigh in on policy and legislation that affects public-land designations, funding and management such as Wilderness proposals, agency budgeting, and the transfer of federal public lands to state control. Our members and supporters receive regular updates and action alerts on advocacy issues, we host public meetings and letter writing campaigns, and we engage volunteers in testifying to support public lands in Denver and Washington, D.C. We also work closely with a broad network of regional and national conservation and recreation organizations (including the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance) to elevate the voice of our members and unify the broader recreation community in support and protection of public lands.”

Founded in 1912 by 25 charter members, the CMC showed, early in its history, the power of like-minded people in passing and defending important land use legislation. The club was instrumental in helping to establish Rocky Mountain National Park, and as the official record keepers for 14er, 13er, and other list completers, it’s “had a hand in naming, protecting, and enjoying the state’s high peaks for more than ten years,” says Jeff Golden, CMC Marketing Manager.

By serving as a modern day database, the CMC is an excellent resource for visitors or Coloradans who are spending time in the mountains. It also provides numerous opportunities for people to teach, learn, and grow in the Rocky Mountain playground.

“In 2016 alone, we had over 600 volunteers dedicate their time to the CMC; we led 1604 trips; we taught 174 adult courses, clinics and schools; educated 7000 youth through our Youth Education Program; and totaled 95,708 human-powered miles,” says CMC’s Membership Manager, Lauren Shockey.

The experiences that CMC facilitates contribute not only to Colorado’s outdoor culture but affect people’s relationship with the outdoors far and wide; when people have access to sustainable recreation, they are far more likely to act as stewards of the places where they play. The three tenets of CMC’s mission — education, recreation and conservation — operate in tandem to create an involved, engaged, and active constituency.

It’s more important now than ever for the outdoor industry to present a united front in support of public lands. Because of shared beliefs, Ibex is proud to share an area code with the CMC. Opening our doors in Denver puts us squarely in the middle of Colorado’s vibrant recreation scene, one that’s as active in civic centers as it is on top of 14,000 foot peaks.