We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better partners for our second annual weekend in the Valles Caldera National Park and Preserve. On Friday, August 25th everyone gathered at the Banco Bonito campground for a night of camping and storytelling around the fire – complete with s’mores! We were honored to have Joseph Toledo from Jemez Pueblo lead us in a storytelling session Friday night, discussing the sacredness of the Caldera to so many Native groups.
The next morning the group of about 45 people gathered were treated to breakfast cooked by longtime New Mexico Wildlife Federation member Julian Gonzalez. After everyone was caffeinated, they headed to the archery station where Artemis Sportswomen co-founder Christine Gonzales taught youth from the Pueblo Pathways Project and the Kewa T.R.U.T.H. Council the finer points of archery. Meanwhile, Kara Armano another Artemis Sportswomen founder, got people practicing their fly-fishing motions. Then it was time to head to the backcountry!
We loaded up and headed to the San Antonio creek. We spent hours in the Caldera fly-fishing, fly tying, and checking out aquatic bugs with the help of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The weekend was a fantastic example of the power public lands have to unite us. The ability to bring people together from across the southwest for a weekend of outdoor fun reminds us why advocating for our public lands is so important.