Larry Hoover: A voice for the wild places | CraigDailyPress.com

Larry Hoover: A voice for the wild places

Moffat County native Larry Hoover points out notable features and tourist destinations such as Steamboat Rock on a large photo of Echo Park in the Moffat County Tourism Association. Hoover lives on his family's land

— Larry Hoover is rooted in an older time, steeped in a sense of place and in the history that makes Moffat County unique.

Hoover's grandfather and grandmother, Henry Shank and Margeret Barnes, homesteaded more than 2,000 acres of land around 1902 in Lily Park, located in western Moffat County near the confluence of the Little Snake River with the Yampa River.

"We have the good life," Hoover said. "We step out the door and the beautiful river is going by. There's no traffic, no houses, no nothing. Just the birds singing."

Hoover lives on about 180 acres near his cousin, Lynda Cozzens. A veritable encyclopedia for historical facts about Moffat County, Hoover channels his passion for the land and its stories into his service on the Moffat County Tourism Association board.

"You don't see the beauty of the county from the highway," Hoover said, describing the dozens of canyons, river vistas and rugged mountains that make Moffat County unique and that most Craig residents never see. "My objective is just to try and say here's this fantastic resource that's underutilized."

Hoover became a river guide after getting introduced to it as a young Eagle Scout. Rafting afforded him the opportunity to explore the rivers of the West, including the Yampa and the Green River in Moffat County.

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"I've been rafting all the rivers in the western U.S. for 50 years, and to me and most of my friends, the canyons in Dinosaur National Monument are the most beautiful anywhere," he said, noting that permits to raft through the monument are some of the most coveted among rafters.

For Hoover, experiencing the majesty of our rugged Western landscapes is a daily event. He's currently utilizing his knowledge of the area to make suggestions to MCTA as well as the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Craig Moffat Economic Development Partnership about how to improve signage and infrastructure in scenic areas that could appeal to tourists.

Though Hoover describes himself as the "burr under the saddle," his gentle nature is undeniable.

"Larry is extremely passionate about the treasures we have here, the backcountry and the history of it," Cozzens said, who usually makes the trip into Craig with him about once every week or two for supplies and feed for her pigs.

"He's my best friend. He's my fellow hermit," she said. "We march to the beat of a different drum, but it's the drum beat of where we live. We're able to step back into another time."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

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