Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Most visitors to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park see the river from a rim overlook, while looking down into the depths. Few see it from the bottom looking up and out. See how you can become a friend of the park at the upcoming Friendraiser. 

Does anyone consult a dictionary anymore? There are online dictionaries so I suppose that has become the common use. Which is what I did to look up “friend.” Are you wondering why I looked at the dictionary for such a common and well understood word?

The dictionary used such words as affection, esteem and personal regard to describe the kind of person who would be a friend, you to them and them to you. But instead of a person, I was after what it would say about an object.

Can the receiver of that affection and esteem be an object?

The dictionary says “yes.” On about the fourth line was the very definition I was looking for, even using the example in a sentence of being a friend of a charity.

Friends of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exactly meets that definition. Friends, or FBCG, may not be familiar to you. I would like to change that. Unfamiliar only because it is new. Formed as a non-profit last year, FBCG went thru an organizational phase that included organizing a board, applying for non-profit status and a tax number, creating a mission and bylaws, and executing a partnership agreement with the park.

With the formalities behind, FBCG now is forward-looking as to how it can assist the park. The mission of FBCG is to build awareness of the park needs and to support the scenic, recreational, fish, wildlife, ecological, cultural, and historical resources.

But being a friend of an object requires having a person to be that friend. Maybe that is you. FBCG has created a membership structure so that people can join in the mission both socially and financially.

Now is the opportunity. After a few recent low-key events, FBCG has organized what is hoped to be a breakout party. A “Friendraiser” will be held Friday, May 17, at the Ute Indian Museum from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Intended primarily as a social event to get the word out of the new organization’s existence and purpose, there will be a lot of mingling, mixed in with catered light appetizers, a few speakers, and a silent auction. Being a non-profit, the natural need exists to raise funds to accomplish the mission. The Friendraiser will promote memberships, cash donations, and auction proceeds to provide a start to a treasury. FBCG is also in tune to various grants to provide funds for projects.

Two specific projects have been identified for this summer season. One is a Trail Ambassador program, which will recruit individuals to train with the park staff, then assist the staff with walking the rim tails to welcome and educate park visitors. Second is a campground tent pad construction project which will build pads within campground sites for placing a tent, both to upgrade the comfort of the site and to protect the site from erosion and vegetation loss.

The Friendraiser is free, including free admission to the Ute Indian Museum. The board of FBCG, which includes Bruce Noble, Bill Wellman, Kendall Cramer, Robbie LeValley, Julie Barger, Melissa Alcorn, CJ Brafford, Wil Harmsen, and Joel Evans, invite you to an evening of fun, food, and social engagement to make new friends.

As the dictionary describes, you can be both a friend to a person and a Friend to a Park.

Joel L. Evans is an avid fisherman, outdoor writer and photographer, who has explored western Colorado for decades.


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