Earlier this fall, my son came home super excited about a new program he’d heard about at school – PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids), which was going to be led every Tuesday by Beth from the library. My wife and I knew he’d love it, so we made sure he quickly turned in his application to secure one of the slots available for this fall’s program. He got in, and every Tuesday he’s come home with all sorts of new information – everything from what kinds of trees line our road to how to identify the different types of animal poop in our yard (FYI – deer and rabbit poop look remarkably similar). PEAK was started by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, which teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. I love this program, so I jumped at the chance to chaperone the final PEAK field trip at Odlin County Park today.
The field trip, no different from every other Tuesday this fall, was fun and educational for the kids. And it was yet another great reminder of the amazingly beautiful place that is Lopez. Before the kids arrived to (gently) tromp around the woods, Beth gave me some background on Leave No Trace, which is a national organization that was started in Boulder Colorado. Among the many programs offered by Leave No Trace is a program focused on “Hot Spots” – areas that are damaged but can recover again with a motivated community. In 2014, San Juan County was identified as a Hot Spot, leading to special events and training from the organization. When Beth became interested in starting PEAK for Lopez, she took a workshop put on by one of the traveling trainers from Leave No Trace. From my perspective, those trainers did an excellent job. Because of his Tuesdays with Beth, my son is constantly reminding the rest of the family about how our behavior will impact the planet. Thank you, Beth.
Odlin Park was a perfect venue for the culmination of the PEAK program. I’d been to Odlin several times, but I’d never appreciated its full beauty until today. Its Big Tree Loop trail winds through old growth trees that are hundreds of years old. Its sandy beach is a great perch to watch the ferry navigate the channel between Lopez and Shaw Island. And the campsites are spacious with views of both forest and water. Odlin Park, found in the Mixby app, is also the first stop on the Tour de Lopez. So, remember, riders: Leave no trace.