Saturday, January 10, 2009

Head to Estes Park for Jan. 17 Earth Fest

Janice Mason in the Estes Park Trail Gazette on Jan. 9 writes about the second annual Estes Earth Fest taking place on Saturday, Jan. 17, at the YMCA of the Rockies' Willome Center.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Estes Park is known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. When you drop into town on a summer Saturday, Estes Park may be the last place you think of as "green." Traffic is backed up for blocks, with cars and SUVs and RVs spewing clouds of exhaust into the mountain air. While downtown features creekside paths with a walkway and park, the town's shops are eerily similar to the those in Myrtle Beach and Branson, Mo. T-shirts, ice cream, burger joints, etc. It's not bad, but not exactly picturesque. But you have to go through Estes to get to RMNP, at least from the Front Range side of the Rocky Mountains. RMNP is one of our family's favorite camping and hiking spots. It's only a couple hours away from Cheyenne, the closest national park. It's worth a half-hour traffic jam in Estes to reach our destination.

But some changes are afoot, green-wise. Estes Park Light and Power is now accepting reservation requests for rebates on the installation of small wind turbines and photovoltaic generators. They'll be promoting the program at the Earth Fest.

Eagle Rock School staff and students have been working for months to recreate the success of last year’s Earth Fest held at the Estes Park High School. John Guffey, service-learning instructional specialist at Eagle Rock, leads the coordination of the festival.

“My sense of Estes Park is that we have a responsibility,” said Guffey. “I believe that it’s a beautiful one that we haven’t acknowledged. It’s been here for a long time, but we just think that we can milk the cow until we dry it out. In fact, we need to change how we relate with tourists and how we relate with the Park, to be a real connecting point. So we don’t just bring people in but that we give out the message.”

General admission tickets for the Earth Fest are $5 for adults 18 and over, $2.50 for students, and children under 8 enter free. The dinner will be by separate ticket: $10 for adults 18 and over, and $5 for youth ages 6 to 17. Advance dinner tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for youth ages 6 to 17.

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center is located at 2515 Tunnel Road 2515, off of Highway CO-66.

FMI: John Guffey at 586-7115,, or visit

Two of the more interesting Earth Fest speakers are:

David Wann is an author, filmmaker and speaker about sustainable design and sustainable lifestyles. His most recent book, “Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle,” is a sequel to the best-selling book he coauthored, “Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic,” which has been translated in nine languages, including Chinese.

Jim Merkel is the author of “Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth” and directs the Global Living Project that consults with campuses and municipalities and offers workshops and lectures. Originally a military engineer, Merkel’s projects included energy demand management, design of military systems and foreign military sales. The Exxon Valdez disaster and the invasion of Iraq prompted him to devote his life to sustainability and world peace. He founded the Global Living Project (GLP) and initiated the GLP Summer Institute where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some great
Branson shows to see if you ever head to Missouri!