Paper No. 152-10
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM
BOOSTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INCREASING PUBLIC INTEREST IN THE GEOSCIENCES—SHARING GEOSCIENCE ON A BICYCLE TOUR IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS OF COLORADO
Spectacular scenery along the yearly Ride The Rockies bicycle tour route in Colorado provides the backdrop to share geoscience with approximately 2,000 fellow cyclists, volunteers, and townspeople. Ride The Rockies is a signature event of The Denver Post Community Foundation that takes place every June since 1986. The 6- to 7-day ride route varies each year; daily rides can be as short as 35 miles or as long as 100 miles, but generally average 60 to 65 miles. The Denver Post Community Foundation supports nonprofit agencies that work to improve the lives of Coloradans in the towns hosting Ride The Rockies by granting funds to organizations that provide services for low-income children and youth through community programs that support recreation and/or youth education. To date, the following communities have been host towns to the tour: Alamosa, Aspen, Avon, Boulder, Breckenridge, Buena Vista, Cañon City, Carbondale, Castle Rock, Chama (N.M.), Colorado Springs, Copper Mountain, Cortez, Craig, Crested Butte, Delta, Denver, Durango, Edwards, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Frisco, Georgetown, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Granby, Grand Junction, Grand Lake, Greeley, Gunnison, Hotchkiss, Idaho Springs, Leadville, Manitou Springs, Montrose, Mount Crested Butte, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Ridgway, Rifle, Salida, Silverton, Snowmass Village, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Trinidad, Vail, Walsenburg, Westcliffe, and Winter Park. While some are well-known ski towns, others are small towns for which the economic impact of 2,000 visitors is substantial. A team of vacationing or retired U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists share their passion for geology, hydrology, geography, and biology while pedaling the route and presenting brief talks during afternoon seminars. Cyclists appreciate how the geology impacts the terrain across which they ride. After the especially moist winter and spring of 2018–2019, discussing USGS hydrogeologic studies helped people understand how our work influences their everyday lives.