Job Corp and Forest Service Partner in celebration of the Wilderness 50th

photo of 4 kids with tools standing by kiosk

Job Corp Crew from left: Dustin Meyers, Cory Cruz, Erik Gonzalez, and Brittany Gomez stand with tools after installing cedar information panels at the Blue Lakes Trailhead leading into the Mount Sneffels Wilderness.


A new information kiosk greets visitors as they embark on one of the most well-loved trails in the state- the Blue Lakes Trailhead leading into the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. On Thursday October 9, the installation was in part celebrating the many benefits of Wilderness.  Scott Armentrout, GMUG National Forest Supervisor said he felt the Blue Lakes Trail was one of the best Wilderness trails in the state because of its easy access and incredible views.

Forest Service recreation specialist Amanda Walker said, "Wilderness is an American legacy. Most other countries don't have wilderness areas."  In addition to the physical, emotional and economic benefits, Walker referred to a quote by famed conservationist Aldo Leopold, "The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future."

The kiosk was sponsored by a grant from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance in partnership with the Ouray Trail Group and the panels were built and installed by the Collbran Job Corps welding and carpentry students. “We don’t often get a chance to build larger projects from conception to installation, “says Crew Leader Timothy Parlove. “This was a really good opportunity for the students to put it all together and see a finished product in place,” he added.

The Collbran Job Corps (CJC) is one of 24 job corps centers nationwide managed by the USFS. "It's a good opportunity," said CJC trainee Cory Cruz, a Los Angeles native. "It helps give us the tools we need." For CJC graduate Erik Gonzalez of Los Angeles, "Because of the Job Corps, I was able to join the carpenters union in Denver on graduation rather than working a fast food job.”

"We are planning to use the Collbran Job Corps in greater partnership throughout the forest," said Armentrout, noting potential projects ranging from trailheads to facilities.


photo of  forest supervisor, district ranger adn job corps crew posing infront of kiosk

(Left to right) Ouray District Ranger Tammy Randall-Parker, Collbran Job Corps Lead Carpentry Instructor Tim Parlove, CJC member Erik Gonzalez, CJC member Cory Cruz, CJC member Brittany Gomez, Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout, Specialist Amanda Walker, CJC member Dustin Meyers and Ouray District Recreation Staff Andrew Maher dedicated a new kiosk at the Blue Lakes Trailhead on Thursday, Oct. 9. Plaindealer photo by Bill Tiedje


photo - aerial of the 3 lakes in wilderness area surrounded by rock and ice peaks

Mount Sneffels, a 14,150-foot peak stands higher than any other point in the Wilderness and is a prominent fourteener in the San Juan Mountain Range. Members of the Hayden Survey purportedly named the peak after the Icelandic mountain in Jules Verne's " Journey to the Center of the Earth." Sneffels is the Nordic word for snowfield or snow mountain. The United States Congress designated the Mount Sneffels Wilderness in 1980 and it now has a total of 16,566 acres.

Fifteen miles of trail, in the eastern and western portions, access some of the finest midsummer wildflower spectacles on the planet, especially in Yankee Boy Basin just outside the eastern boundary, where you'll find the Blue Lakes Trail leading into the area for about 3.5 miles. The only lakes around, Blue Lakes huddle below the western flank of Mount Sneffels in a deep basin.

Blue Lakes Trailhead is at the end of County Road 7, off Highway 62 west of Ridgway.