We as Coloradans are beyond spoiled to have quick access to so many great wild places to disappear into… But this privilege comes with responsibility. Our spectacular trails and waters need to be protected, maintained, and in some cases, reclaimed. Further, we must invest meaningfully in our local mountain towns and communities if we want them to remain viable launching points for our wild-ass adventures. Here are some of the ways that the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon seeks to inspire responsible outdoor participation and work towards building stronger local communities:
Giving Back: A significant percentage of funds raised through each Rocky Mountain Flyathlon event is specifically targeted towards river and trail improvement projects within the watershed in which the individual event itself is held. Over the last 4 years, Flyathlon events have raised more than $100,000 for projects, first through our conservation partner Trout Unlimited, and now through our independent 501(c)(3) organization, Running Rivers. By re-investing the dollars that we raise through events into projects to maintain and enhance the trails and creeks that the events are held on, we are ensuring that our activity will be sustainable into the future.
At Running Rivers, our motto is “Conservation through Recreation”, and our goal is to get people investing their time and money towards enjoying and preserving our public lands. Please consider donating to Running Rivers so we can grow our impact in the coming years.
Inclusivity: The Rocky Mountain Flyathlon is designed to be inclusive as opposed to truly competitive, with traditional race awards for top male and female competitors, but also awards for the biggest and smallest fish caught and for the top two fundraisers. Further, our courses are selected to maximize the probability of individual fishing success, as an encouragement to those new to fishing.
The ideal flyathlete is anyone who wants to get outside of their regular routine to participate in a unique outdoors event. To the newbie, both the sports of trail running and fly fishing (and even craft beer, for that matter) can seem very exclusive and even pretentious, requiring a lot of gear and/or experience to be enjoyable. This perception limits their desire to engage in these outdoor activities. The Flyathlon seeks to break down those barriers through accessible events that create positive and fishy outdoor experiences and memories. It is our hope that through this type of exposure, we can create new outdoor advocates, new river warriors.
Community Involvement: The Rocky Mountain Flyathlon actively seeks out local community involvement in our events, and explicitly encourages race participants to spend additional time and money in the host region after each event. For example, our flagship event is held in the San Luis Valley, a rural, largely agricultural region of Colorado approximately 4 hours from Denver. At the after-race celebration, beers from small, local craft breweries are showcased. Further, as people leave our events, they are encouraged to spend a few days exploring the areas surrounding our venues!
Responsible Recreation: The Rocky Mountain Flyathlon is designed specifically to promote responsible fishing practices and trail habits. On the fishing side of the event, all events are 100% catch-and-release fishing using only fishing methods approved for that specific area, with a requirement for participants to present a valid fishing license at the registration table the morning of the event. Further, the race rules are designed to highlight the importance of native fish, with an additional time bonus awarded for catching (and releasing) a resident native fish. On the trail running side of the event, race rules explicitly highlight proper trail etiquette (e.g. no short-cutting, Leave No Trace principles), with a potential DQ for not adhering to these rules.
In summary, the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon seeks to make our mountain watersheds and communities better places through our activities so that they may thrive well into the future.
run. fish. beer. (and do it all responsibly)