Calling all adventure enthusiasts! Combine your passion for recreation with conservation!
Backcountry Advocates is HCCA’s new ambassador program that provides a platform for HCCA members to combine their passion for outdoor recreation with conservation. Backcountry Advocates are adventurers with a purpose: they are hikers, bikers, skiers, snowboarders, fisher folks and others who share their passion for protecting our local environment. Storytelling is one of the most influential ways to share your voice in conservation, and we all have unique stories to tell. If you see any Backcountry Advocates in action, be sure to ask them for their story!
Stay up-to-date on our website and Facebook for spotlights and stories from our Backcountry Advocates. If you are interested in becoming a backcountry advocate, please contact HCCA’s outreach director, Mel Yemma, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Our Backcountry Advocates
What’s your adventure? My adventure is getting outside, whether getting on a river, skiing a mountain or biking a trail. All of these activities allow me to find enjoyment in my day and usually surround me with great people.
Why are you an advocate? I am an advocate because it is so important to have these places to recreate in. Helping preserve them for future generations will allow others to enjoy these great open spaces and rivers. All of my favorite activities thrive on protecting our resources—if we don’t raise awareness we will lose them. This world is being developed so quickly, we need to help protect the wild places so future generations will get the same enjoyment out of them that we have.
What’s your adventure? My adventure is embodying the journey! I draw inspiration from so many different ‘adventures’ that I don’t think I could ever just choose one. I have been a backcountry/highcountry user my whole life; climbing my first mountain when I was 6 years old in the Weminuche Wilderness of Southern Colorado. My desire for seeking wild country was instilled at a very young age, and has always been one of the most paramount pieces of my journey. My ‘adventures’ range from backpacking to backcountry snowboarding, to rafting and biking, and fill quite a few niches in between. They are all connected in a beautiful and vital cycle, to each other, to me, to local community, and to our global community.
Why are you an advocate? I am an advocate because I cannot imagine living a life without said ‘adventures’ and I would never want to! Without preservation of public lands we would not have the same beautiful local community or for that matter our beautiful global community; these wild places bring us together through elation, suffering, and experience. The privatization of more and more of our natural world is tearing at the heart of these communities which we hold so dear, and thus I am an advocate because their preservation is linked with my identity and with the identity of my home, Colorado.
What’s your adventure? My adventure is backcountry skiing.
Why are you an advocate? I am an advocate because we are living in a generation where our environment needs protecting if we want to preserve it. I am hoping to bring attention to the work HCCA does with our local water sources and get people talking about why water is so vital to the Gunnison Valley. Water is essential. Everyone should be informed, and even more, everyone should care.
Mary K Schmidt
What’s your adventure? I am originally from VA and have always been drawn to the mountains. The best way for me to explore is by hiking and always with my camera. We are surrounded by amazing mountains, water falls, wild flowers, wildlife. Coming from VA, I could not imagine such a beautiful place and compared to the east coast, so untouched. Exploring the area, exhilarates me.
Why are you an advocate? I participate in HCCA summer hikes, and like their mission. I am an advocate for keeping our public lands clean and healthy.
Meet Our Volunteer Coordinators
Backcountry Advocates Photographer
Lydia Stern of LStern Media is a fun-loving, adventure-seeking photographer based out of Crested Butte, Colorado. She has been a full-time photographer for 5 years. Her other passions include time spent outdoors, skiing, hiking, biking, dancing under the stars, splashing around in the water, and chasing after her lovable mountain mutts.
Backcountry Advocates Videographer
Jeremy Wallace of Wallace Photo is a camera monkey, mountain lover, rambler, and student at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. After leaving his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, he began bouncing around the Rockies from Wyoming to Montana to Colorado pursuing photography and spending as much time in the woods as he could. After a few years, he eventually wound up in the beautiful Gunnison Valley to pursue an education. It is here that he realized how important public lands are to everyone, and he knew he wanted to be involved with their protection in some way. He hopes to blend his passion for filmmaking and photography with advocating for conservation and stewardship of our amazing valley.