A Giant Community Thank You for Colorado River Days Flagstaff 2016!
THANK YOU, FLAGSTAFF!!
This year, we celebrated the beauty and culture of the River with 10 days of Colorado River Days Flagstaff, featuring 20 events! There was a whole lot of music and art, listening and looking, learning and taking action. This year’s events raised awareness for both locals and visitors, as volunteers turned out in force to promote the events on First Friday during Labor Day weekend, during the Tiny Boat Concert and historic boat display, Flipped Out Slideshow, Short Film Showcase, and Art Show. Together, we educated the public of ongoing threats to the River, and reasons to take these threats personally. The Community Collaborative Colorado River Art Show at The State Bar is ongoing through September and October, so get down there and see the talent of our neighbors and friends.
Between September 2-12, 2016, families and friends were brought together to participate in free hands on educational events, hikes and a birding walk. A listening session with area Tribal activists, a discussion of outdoor education on the Diné (Navajo) and Hopi Nations, and a presentation on Coal Mining at Black Mesa drove home the pressures that resource extraction and development are putting on Tribal Nations, while young kids need more opportunities for outdoor learning.
And did we mention the music? From the Tiny Boat Show to Ed Kabotie’s flute and guitar during the Native Voices on the Colorado River event, and from Tha’ Yoties’ Rumble on the Mountain CD release to the Confluence Journey show with Infamous Flapjack Affair, our ears were bathed in river music. This was definitely our most melodic River Days yet.
This year also featured a plethora of featured films. We are grateful to Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival for their “Celebration of the River” pre-event, with the inspirational Katie Lee reminding us to get off our butts and defend what we love. Threaded throughout the week were viewings of The World Beneath the Rims, The Closer You Get, the More You Find, I am Red, North Rim Notes, and River of Sorrows. The coffee discussion with the filmmaker and artists of The World Beneath the Rims left everyone feeling like they had experienced something special.
Two travelogues bookended the week as we learned about floating through Canyonlands with Tom Martin and through-hiking Grand Canyon with Chris Atwood and Rich Rudow. Kevin Fedarko delivered an inspiring lecture that got people off their feet and immediately beginning to organize to protect Grand Canyon from development, mining, and overflight threats.
In all these ways, we brought the community of Flagstaff together and we can’t wait to do it again next year! Together, about 40 organizations collaborated to reach about 1,000 people! We still continue to seek support for the movements, so if you haven’t already, please choose your favorite river cause and show your support today!
We would like to give a special thank you to all of the people that put effort into hosting and helping with the Colorado River Days events. If we haven’t thanked you in person yet, we look forward to following up in coming weeks to find out how we can do better next year.
Marcelle Viana, Sierra Club volunteer
Alicyn Gitlin, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter