This is harvest time for our local farms. Many of us are shopping at our local Farmer's Market.
The Mancos Valley Farmer's Market is in Boyle Park on Thursday afternoons from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You can purchase fresh produce, home canned goodies or enjoy some fine music in a beautiful park on a lovely summer afternoon. It is also harvest time in our forest. The recent rains have limited our fears of potential fires and the forest is prepared to give us an abundance of wild edible plants as a result. If you wish to gather plants from the forest, you should get a permit from the Dolores Ranger District located in the Public Lands Office on Highway 184 near the intersection of Highway 145 in Dolores. Some permits are free and others require a fee. The Dolores Rangers will explain how to do ethical harvesting of plants that insures sustainability of the plants in the forest.
The Visitor Center has numerous books available about edible and medicinal plants. There is also a wide selection of books and maps about hiking, biking and ATV trails in the area. One of the favorite books about hiking is titled The Best Durango Hikes. Don't let the title fool you. The book is not about Durango only. There are numerous trails near Mancos in the book: Big Al Trail, Centennial Trail, Hesperus Mountain Trail, Lizard Head Trail and the Sand Canyon Loop. The book is a great resource. It provides topographic maps for each hike with complete descriptions about how to reach the trailhead and how long it will take you to complete your hike.
Remember that the Visitor Center also sells the Colorado Outdoor Search and Rescue Card (CORSAR). Each year, Colorado search and rescue teams perform over a thousand missions helping those who get caught in emergency situations in the backcountry. No one knows when they may need help. You can be prepared for the unexpected with the purchase of a CORSAR card. You can buy the card for $3 for a year and $12 for 5 years. If you have a current hunting or fishing license, you are covered. If you need to renew a hunting or fishing license, you can do that at Cox Conoco. You can also get permits for cutting wood at Conoco. The Western Excelsior Plant is offering free wood to seniors over 65 years old. Free wood at the plant will be available until Friday, Aug. 29, the start of Labor Day Weekend. Western Excelsior is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday for those of you interested in picking up some wood.
Marianne Griffin is the executive director of the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer Ave. Visit www.mancosvalley.com or call 533-7434.