Take a trip to discuss snowpack, safety in mountains

With some areas of Colorado’s mountains reporting near-record snow depths, the Western Slope Conservation Center and Thompson Divide Coalition are offering a timely snowshoe and cross-country ski trip March 22 to discuss snowpack measurement and safe backcountry travel.

The free trip will begin at 9:30 a.m. on McClure Pass and will feature presentations by snow surveyor Derrick Wyle of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Phil Volckhausen of West Elk Mountain Rescue.

Snow surveyors for the NRCS collect and analyze snowpack readings throughout Colorado’s mountains.

Data from Wyle’s snow surveys and automated remote stations help ditch companies, farmers and conservation districts plan for wise water-management policies and planting schedules.

The Gunnison River Basin is currently at 112 percent of median snowpack values, but long-term drought conditions remain throughout the state. During this event, Wyle will provide demonstrations on snowpack data collection.

Much of this information is used by backcountry travelers, but even the most adept and prepared mountain traveler can get into trouble.

When that happens, the West Elk Mountain Rescue Team is often called in for search and rescue assistance.

During this outing, Volckhausen, president of West Elk Mountain Rescue, will provide instruction on essential items for safe backcountry travel.

The trip is open to the public and appropriate for all ages and abilities. Participants should bring their own snowshoes or cross-country skis and expect to be outdoors for approximately three hours.

Carpooling will be available from Paonia and Carbondale.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Brian Amstutz, Western Slope Conservation Center, at 970-527-5307, ext. 206, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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