Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

Karin Harmon, Executive Director, Friends of Kings Peak

As our hiking and climbing season comes to an end, Friends of Kings Peak would like to highlight our accomplishments for the year. This past summer of 2013 was the first year we have had a wilderness intern in the Henry’s Fork Basin area of the High Uintas. Eric Szumlas was up in the basin along with a Forest Service volunteer from June 6 to August 11. Eric and Zach patrolled from Thursday to Sunday each week, speaking with visitors about minimizing impacts and answering questions. All together they documented talking to 774 hikers in this short period of time. The two of them also spoke with 24 groups of boy scouts, seven of which exceeded the 14 person group size limit. As they hiked around the Basin, they collected trash left behind by hikers and horsemen. Together they collected 165 pounds of trash, destroyed and naturalized 192 illegal fire rings and buried 354 toilet paper mounds.

Early in June, Eric and Zach also replaced all five of the trail junction signs in the Henry’s Fork Basin. The new signs were donated by the Highpointers organization and are less confusing, particularly at the Elkhorn Crossing bridge. The new signs are also on six foot tall posts that make them easier to see from a distance. Three new signs have also been installed on the south slope of the Uintas, one in upper Painter Basin, one in upper Lakefork Basin and one on the Yellowstone River trail. There are two more signs in the works for upper Painter Basin awaiting approval from the Ashley National Forest. Friends of Kings Peak would like to thank Stony Burke of Renaissance signs in Gonic, New Hampshire for making and shipping the new signs to us.

Eric, the intern, also monitored a small lightning strike fire that started north of Henry’s Fork Lake. This fire burned less than one acre and posed no threat to hikers, but he was an information source for hikers in the area. Friends of Kings Peak would like to thank Eric for his service this summer, and we look forward to hiring another intern next spring to continue to provide competent, capable assistance to the Forest Service’s wilderness program.

Looking forward to 2014, Friends of Kings Peak will be continuing with the wilderness intern program and again hiring a 13 week ranger for Henry’s Fork Basin. FKP has also started to work on funding a Utah Conservation Corp crew to work on better defining the trail in upper Painter Basin. The crew would spend eight days in upper Painter basin building rock cairns to define exactly where the system trails are located. In July 2013, two boy scouts returning from the summit of Kings Peak missed a turn here and became lost in Painter Basin, necessitating a helicopter-assisted search and rescue mission. As this shows, work on the trails in this area is needed.

This brings me to the other reason for this editorial. Friends of Kings Peak is once again participating in the Live PC Give PC Day of Giving on Nov.8. For those who have donated in the past, thank you very much. Please consider donating again to help fund either the wilderness intern program or the UCC work crew. For those who have not yet participated in the Live PC Give PC Day of Giving, there are a couple of cool things to note for this year. There is a $2,500 prize for the small non-profit that receives the largest number of new and unique donors. The minimum donation is just $10 and can be made by clicking this link, This prize could go a long way in helping FKP provide a second wilderness intern for 2014.

There is also a matching Challenge Grant from the Park City Community Foundation this year, for the first 500 new, unique donors to non-profits. Each new donor’s contribution will be increased by $25, courtesy of the Park City Community Foundation. So your $10 donation means that Friends of Kings Peak receives $35! Please visit the link above, early on November 8, to take advantage of this matching grant opportunity from Park City Community Foundation.

Thanks for participating in the Live PC Give PC Day of Giving and for all you do for Friends of Kings Peak.

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