Experience the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area by walking through our past on youth led walking tours with Caminos del Valle. Caminos del Valle is a connection focused walking community and program partner of the Walk2Connect Cooperative. Walk2Connect helps connect people to one another, to the places they live and to themselves through walking. They host community walking and hiking events throughout the year, train walking leaders and inspire connection-focused walking culture.
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Executive Director Tori Martinez has worked with Jonathan Stalls, Walk2Connect Founder/Co-op Owner as Team Support, to tie in local heritage and history to these walks.
She states, “I am proud of the youth leaders for their passion about heritage and culture. They have worked hard to learn about the history of where the walks take place. The youth are also building life-long skills during this program that are transferable to any career they pursue in the future.”
What makes the walks through the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area special alongside Walk2Connect programming is the focus on youth leadership.
“Youth are open, curious and passionate. Inviting them into more body movement, more time in nature and more human connection outside of walls and screens can do beautiful things. Weaving intention, stewardship and education around their local heritage, culture, and land is beautiful and necessary. Adding leadership and group facilitation skills is formative and empowering ~ for everyone involved. I’m so proud of these young people. It’s our first time hosting walks in these ways and they are doing such a great job” shared Jonathon.
“We strongly encourage young people and their families to join the walks to not only support our leaders, but to learn more about their culture and to see themselves as future leaders for things like this. The more young people we have connecting to one another, to the places they live and to themselves, the better,” continues Jonathon.
There are 4 walks left in this summer’s schedule that vary in topics and length.
On Saturday July 28th there will be a 3-4 mile forest walk in Osier. This walk will move through and around public lands on the Eastern side of Osier Mountain just west of Magote and Antonito. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants into conversations on land conservation, public land resources, hunting practices in the San Luis Valley, local plants and more.
August 3rd’s tour features a 2 mile Lobatos Bridge and the Rio Grande River Walk. This will be a relaxing and beautiful big sky walking experience, visiting the historic Lobatos Bridge crossing over the Rio Grande River. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants through a variety of themes related to native and local culture and heritage, Rio Grande river conservation, preservation and information on nearby petroglyphs.
On Saturday Aug 4th a walk through the history of Conejos County Mission Church’s with an all day 9-10 mile walk. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants through a variety of themes connected to cultural heritage, religious traditions, and rooted practices. The walk will follow rural roads moving from one Mission Church to the next, with good breaks and community connections.
Then on Saturday August 11th, the Youth Walking Leaders will conclude this season with a walk through the history of Costilla County Mission Churches. They will guide participants through a variety of themes connected to cultural heritage, religious traditions and rooted practices. The tour will make its way on rural roads moving from San Luis, to San Pedro, to San Pablo and finishing in San Francisco. This will be an all-day walking experience with good breaks and community connections.
The walks are free to the public. However, anyone wishing to make a donation can send it to the SdCNHA. Specify you want your donation to go toward next year’s program to train more youth leaders.
For more information please visit www.walk2connect.com/slvyouthwalks2018 or call (719) 679-3119
For more information about the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area please visit www.sdcnha.org
Current partners of Walk2Connect and Caminos del Valle summer walking series are: San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (SLVGO), Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SDCNHA), Move Mountains Project San Luis, Conejos Clean Water, San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU).