"Wild West Slope": Epic Sierra Launches NEW Gold Country Adventure
American River Conservancy, March 28, 2012
In its recent ‘Top Ten U.S. Travel Destinations', Lonely Planet Publishing rated California's Gold Country one of the top ten places to visit in 2012. Within a day's drive from the Bay Area and a short trip up the hill from Sacramento, the Gold Country offers abundant opportunities to explore some of California's most treasured cultural sites and natural wonders.
Since 2009, the American River Conservancy has provided recreational and educational outings each summer through its Epic Sierra Adventures program. This summer, Epic Sierra offers a new adventure in California's Gold Country. "Wild West Slope" is a 7-day program that takes teens on an adventure along the Highway 49 corridor. The trip offers a taste of the cultural and natural resources that abound in the Sierra foothills. Participants experience the thrills of whitewater rafting on the American River. They visit Yosemite National Park, where waterfalls abound, and work with park biologists on a volunteer service project. In between, teens explore trails in Calaveras Big Trees State Park and descend into Mercer Caverns.
Unique among its competitors, Epic Sierra introduces high school youth, ages 14-18, to the benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle. Teens have the opportunity to hike, bike and paddle through the Sierra Nevada's most scenic landscapes. In addition to the new adventure, Epic Sierra continues with its standard "Rocks, Rivers, and Ranges" trip. A trip that takes teens on a 14-day adventure to that includes stops in Coloma, Lake Tahoe, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park.
On all trips, teens give back to local communities by volunteering with staff from conservation organizations in the Sierra Nevada. For many of the participants, working on volunteer service projects enriches their experience. "I have continued to expand my appreciation for water and land conservation but what I took away most is the ability we have to actively participate in conservation and make a difference for our future," says Stephanie, 16, a 2011 Epic Sierra participant.
Located in Coloma, only a short distance from the gold discovery site along historic Highway 49, the Conservancy has preserved open space in the American and Cosumnes Rivers for over 20 years. It's appropriate that the Conservancy lead the effort in introducing the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts to the splendor and wonder of the Sierra foothills.
Program fees do apply, but Epic Sierra strives to provide opportunities for all teens to participate, regardless of socio-economic status. " Other camps were twice the cost and not nearly the same experience with a small group of kids. We couldn't have sent him to any camp like this one for the money," says Maureen Moskovic, who sent her son on an adventure in 2010.
The organization finds support for scholarships from Outdoor Industry retailers such as Mountain Hardwear, Royal Robbins, The North Face and REI. Scholarship information, along with trip details, is found online at www.epicsierra.org.
Epic Sierra Adventures is a program of the American River Conservancy. A non-profit community organization in the Sierra foothills, the Conservancy preserves rivers and land for life. Visit us online at www.arconservancy.org