McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

In this episode, we sit down with Collin Ewing, manager of the McInnis Canyons, and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas for the Bureau of Land Management.  These public lands are stunning, featuring dramatic desert landscapes with towering red rock canyons and two beautiful sections of the river, the Ruby Horsethief section of the Colorado, and the lower Gunnison River near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Listen now!

As COVID-19 encourages people to get outside, the Bureau is working to manage the increased pressure on the landscape. We talk to Collin about how to recreate responsibly to preserve the wilderness experience for visitors and protect habitat as the crowds swell.

In 2016, the Bureau launched a permit system on Ruby-Horsethief. It helped preserve the area’s wilderness feel, protect the landscape from overuse, and raise funds to keep restrooms clean, build infrastructure like boat ramps, and restore habitat. The Bureau is currently working on a similar system for the Lower Gunnison River. Collin would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

We also hit the highlights of a few Leave No Trace practices, like reading about the rules and regulations for your destination before you go. The Colorado Canyons Association has some handy resources for McInnis Canyon specifically. Check out their “Know Before You Go” video for the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River. And don’t forget to,

  • Stay on designated roads and trails
  • Camp in designated campsites
  • Use designated fire rings
  • And have a plan for your poo

Collin is also heading down the Grand Canyon this summer and walks us through his plan to mitigate Covid risks. These conversations will help you recreate responsibly on any public lands trip you’re planning this summer.

Additional Resources –

  1. Learn more about our National Conservation Lands and National Conservation Areas (NCAs) and the stunning Dominguez-Escalante and McInnis Canyon NCAs.
  2. Research the current water level in the river you want to explore.
  3. Check out the Mesa County Health Department’s Covid guidelines if you’re planning to visit McInnis Canyons or Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas.
  4. Here are some National Park Service  tips to recreate responsibly in Covid-times
  5. And here are more resources to help you recreate responsibly

Email topics, comments, and suggestions to clark@foreverourrivers.org. Or leave us a river question at ‪(724) 343-1769 to have your question air in an episode.