Group to clean Duffy Mountain

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Showing people the beautiful county they live in starts with caring for it, members of a local conservation group say.

Members of the group Friends of Northwest Colorado have planned a clean-up Sunday at Duffy Mountain, an area about 30 miles west of Craig on the Yampa River.

"I would hope it would be a way to see some of the country," member Tim Paschke said. "It's quite a nice wilderness."

Friends of Northwest Colo--rado is a loosely knit group of conservation-minded people who support the concept of keeping wilderness on the county's public lands. Last year, the group debuted with a clean-up on Cedar Mountain Recreation area in which members removed two truckloads of garbage, Paschke said.

The group aims to keep conservation efforts local and serve as a voice to combat local governments' push for oil and gas development on Northwest Colorado's public lands.

The group has no formal status, but members meet about once a month. Members recently adopted a mission statement that states they "believe that we must protect, preserve and conserve our unique local natural resources so that all generations, present and future, can experience, enjoy and be nurtured by them. Our mission is to educate and to be a voice for people who believe in the inherent value of wildlife, water, air, wilderness and the natural landscape."

Member Jackie Hovis said she enjoys being part of the group and thinks its formation may help draw more attention to conservation efforts.

"You never know what will happen," she said. "Every little bit helps. There are people like us that want to preserve some of it."

Members said people might be surprised by the amount of garbage that is discarded onto county lands. Last year's clean-up netted washing machines among other large discarded items.

Member Jane Yazzie said group members most recently gathered at a barbecue to welcome a new director of Brown's Park Wildlife Refuge. The event showed that not everyone in Moffat County agrees with the proliferation of oil and gas development.

Yazzie said the group members may someday present forums to talk openly with community members about land issues.

"We're still a group that wants to proceed carefully," she said. "We're a group that wants to understand ecosystem functioning."

A group will be meeting at 8 a.m. at the BLM parking lot at 455 Emerson St. to carpool to Duffy Mountain. Clean-up starts at 9 a.m. To meet the group onsite gather at Moffat County Road 17 and BLM Road 1596 near the information kiosk. For questions, call David Morris at 824-7158.

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