Albuquerque Road Runners hold 10-K run, 2-mile
walk in memory of Charlie Young
The Placitas Community Library invites all runners and walkers
to join in the second annual Forever Young 10-K run and two-mile
noncompetitive walk, to be held in Placitas on Sunday, April 2,
sponsored by Albuquerque Road Runners in memory of Charlie Young.
The events will begin at 8:00 a.m. at Homestead Village, on Highway
165, and follow a cross-country loop course on U.S. Forest Service
Albuquerque Road Runners has generously offered to donate the
proceeds from this event to the Placitas Community Library. Library
volunteers will be on hand to help out that day. Preregistration
fees are $18 with shirt, $12 without, with a preregistration deadline
of March 26. You can register on race day for $20 with a shirt and
$15 without. Prizes will be given to top overall male and female
finishers and also to the top three finishers in each of six categories.
Participants will help support the Placitas Library, get some
good exercise with a fun group of runners on beautiful scenic trails,
and maybe win a prize. You may pick up your registration form and
get more information by stopping into the library. The first 140
registrants will receive a hi-tech Breathe Thermal long-sleeve shirt,
valued at $50, on race day.
Public-lands freedom fighter
—LAURA PASKUS, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
(FEBRUARY 15, 2006)—Almost 50 years ago, Stephen Maurer sat
on a plane surrounded by fellow political refugees from Hungary,
en route to the United States. During the 1956 Hungarian Revolution—which
lasted from Oct. 23 until Nov. 4 — he was among the men and
women who unsuccessfully fought to overthrow Soviet occupation.
Maurer initially thought his stay in the United States would be
short. But he ended up in Albuquerque in 1958, where he became one
of the West’s most dedicated advocates for public lands. "For
me, growing up in Communist Hungary, the public lands and the freedom
they offer is mind-boggling," he says in his syncopated Hungarian
accent. "They are so uniquely American."
As a student at the University of New Mexico in the late 1950s,
Maurer worked on the D.H. Lawrence Ranch near Taos as a welder and
sometime caretaker. He traveled throughout the region; at the Grand
Canyon, he and his wife, Lisa, became friends with the Bass family,
one of the first Anglo families to settle on the South Rim of the
Since 1989, Maurer has served as the special projects manager
of the Albuquerque-based Public Lands Interpretive Association,
a nonprofit that sells educational materials, such as river guidebooks
and maps, for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and
Fish and Wildlife Service. But his work for PLIA and his passion
for backpacking, elk hunting and river running were not enough to
satisfy his love for public lands.
So in 1999, Maurer started planning the American Frontiers Project.
With the sponsorship of Honda, the National Geographic Society and
other companies, and some support from the federal agencies—most
notably the BLM—Maurer and his crew of volunteers mapped a
route from Canada to Mexico that ran entirely across public lands.
Two teams undertook the journey, one beginning in the north and
the other in the south. For 60 days, they hiked, rafted and rode
horses, mountain bikes or ATVs. On Sept. 27, 2002, Public Lands
Day, they converged in Utah’s Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Today, Maurer speaks of his drive to organize the project: "If
I could somehow give that message to the people who were born here
who have all these freedoms and don’t know about public lands—then
I could give something back."
More recently, Maurer had a suggestion for the Forest Service’s
centennial: retracing the steps of the 1896 survey team assembled
by the National Academy of Sciences, a team that included John Muir
and Gifford Pinchot. "Wouldn’t it be cool to do a State
of the Forests on the 100th anniversary of the Forest Service?"
he asks. He enthusiastically offered the use of trailers and equipment
from the American Frontiers Project. The agency, however, was not
In five decades of exploring the West, Maurer has met countless
kindred spirits. At Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, Maurer
and a friend met Jim Gilleece, the elderly caretaker of the Baker
Ranch. The three shared coffee and talked about work. Gilleece explained
that in the winter, he turns the cattle out on the "domain."
That seemingly old-fashioned word struck Maurer, who wanted to know
what Gilleece meant by it. To Maurer’s delight, he says, Gilleece
answered, "Public Domain. That’s where you go hunting,
or camping, or picking wildflowers, and ain’t nobody can tell
you what to do. Because that’s land that belongs to me, and
to you, and to everyone else."