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Last updated 1:50PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Osprey Helps Hawkins Preserve Get Ready For Climbers
(2008-07-28)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Friday marked the first day of work at the Hawkins Preserve in Cortez, which led to the start allowing climbing back at the preserve. One local company's effort is helping expedite the process.

KSUT's Sarah Baumgartner reports.

SARAH: Before climbers grab their ropes and start planning their routes again at the Hawkins Preserve, volunteers from Osprey Packs Inc. joined together to establish trails to excess the climbing areas.
What once was just a wide-open field adorned with cactuses, slick rock and shrubs, that lead down to a climbing haven now is starting to have a definitive trail with help from local volunteers.
The 122-acre preserve is tucked away in Cortez city limits and is owned by the Cortez Cultural Center.
Linda Raczek is with the Cortez Cultural Center. Raczek says that the Preserve is a unique area for locals:
LINDA RACZEK: YEAH I THINK IT IS KIND OF A LITTLE SPECIAL NOOK. IN FACT PEOPLE APPROACH ME AND APPARENTLY IT'S BEEN JUST USED OVER THE YEARS, THEY JUST THOUGHT IT WAS PUBLIC LANDS YOU KNOW.
As four volunteers from Osprey await direction, Raczek explains why their help is so important.
LINDA RACZEK: TODAY IS THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO MAKE A REAL MARKED TRAIL THAT GOES DOWN TO THE RIM WHERE THE CLIMBING ACCESS WILL BE. AND WE HAVEN'T REALLY BEEN ABLE TO OPENLY TALK ABOUT IT BEING THAT THAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THIS BUT THE LAND CONSERVANCY OWNS A CONSERVATION EASEMENT ON HAWKINS, WHICH WILL PROTECT IT FOREVER.
Climbers were previously banned for what Raczek says was due to liability reasons.
Paul Morey is with the Four Corners Climbing Association and a long time friend to the area. Morey is working hard on the trails and says that a liability waiver is in the works for climbers to sign.
PAUL MOREY: WE WROTE A CLIMBING MANAGEMENT PLAN WHICH IS PROBABLY 8 OR 10 PAGES IN LENGTH DETAILING EXACTLY WHAT'S ALLOWED IN HAWKINS AS FAR AS CLIMBING. SO THAT TOOK A LOT OF EFFORT AND DEVELOPING A LIABILITY RELEASE FORM AND WORKING ON BROACHERS TO HAND OUT TO CLIMBERS. IT'S KIND OF A GOOD FEELING THAT IT'S ALMOST DONE AND CLIMBING WILL BE ALLOWED VERY SOON IN THE PRESERVE.
Headquartered in Cortez, Osprey requires that their staff take at least one day of work and volunteer their time to an organization of their choice.
Tom Barney is the CEO of Osprey Packs Inc. With dirt covered gloves and a shovel in hand, Barney explains that weather it be an environmental or social cause, employees need to be integrated in the community they serve.
TOM BARNEY: IN THIS CASE WE DECIDED TO GO LOCAL HERE IN CORTEZ AND TAKE ABOUT 5 OR 6 OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS AND HEAD OUT AND DO SOME TRAIL WORK. OF COURSE TRAILS ARE A PRIORITY IN OUR INDUSTRY AND OF COURSE IN OUR BUSINESS TOO. WE BUILD PACKS AND WITHOUT PEOPLE HAVING WILD PLACES TO GO OUT AND PLAY AND GOOD TRAILS TO BE ON OUR BUSINESS IS NOT VERY HEALTHY. SO WE WANT PEOPLE TO GET OUTSIDE.
Morey says without the help of other organizations like Osprey, it would be tough for the climbing community to do it on its own.
MOREY: THE WORK HELPS BECAUSE THERE ARE CLIMBERS THAT ARE INVOLVED WITH SOME OF THE TRAIL WORK. BUT THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE. SO HAVING OSPREY REALLY, REALLY HELPS WITH THE CLIMBING COMMUNITY AND THEY'VE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF THE FOUR CORNERS CLIMBING COALITION.
Raczek explains what she foresees for the future of the Hawkins Preserve.
RACZEK: I WANT IT TO HAVE A GOOD BALANCE OF STAYING REALLY BEAUTIFUL AND PRISTINE LIKE IT IS. ESPECIALLY THE VEGETATION COMMUNITY IS JUST SO PRETTY HERE. AND BIRDS, WILDLIFE WE HAVE FOXES, DENNING HERE AND STUFF. THE OTHER SIDE OF IT IS WE'RE SO CLOSE TO CORTEZ I REALLY WANT KIDS ENGAGED HERE. I REALLY WANT THEM ENJOYING IT AND HAVING IT BE THE PLACE THEY REMEMBER.
Morey says that he hopes the new trails will be up and running and ready for climbers within the next few weeks.

From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Sarah Baumgartner.
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