The 14th Annual
Gila River Festival
The Gila Conservation Coalition hosts the 14th annual Gila River Festival “Celebrating 50 Years of Wild & Scenic Rivers” September 20-23, 2018 in Silver City, NM, the Gila National Forest and along the Gila River.
Rivers run through us—our hearts, our lives, and our history. As a nation, we recognize the value of rivers to our drinking water supplies, ecosystems, wildlife and recreation opportunities, engendering our strong sense of responsibility to protect them.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that established the National Wild and Scenic River System, protecting more than 12,000 miles of rivers in 40 states and Puerto Rico for recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, scenery, water quality, and cultural heritage.
At the 14th Annual Gila River Festival, we will celebrate this momentous legislation and explore long-term protection of the Gila River through Wild and Scenic River designation. The festival features field trips, presentations, dancing, and events for the whole family.
9/19 UPDATE: The forecast is for rain starting Wednesday 9/19 through Thursday 9/20. Please note that field trips leave rain or shine. Be prepared with your rain gear. Because safety is our top priority, field trip locations may be modified based on conditions on the ground.
Registration opens July 1, 2018.
PLEASE NOTE: U.S. Senator Tom Udall is unable to join us for the Gala for the Gila on Saturday, September 22 given a change in his schedule. State Senator Jeff Steinborn, a strong conservation advocate in the New Mexico legislature, will be our guest speaker.
Events taking place on Forest Service land are authorized by the Gila National Forest through a special use permit.
Schedule of Events
Field trip: wild waters
field trip: landscapes of the wild gila river
Field Trip: Kayaking
field trip: horseback riding
Field trip: wild birds on a wild river
Field Trip: mogollon box birds
Field Trip: Mineral creek
Tim Palmer is the award winning author and photographer of 26 books, including Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy. He has canoed or rafted on 400 rivers nationwide and was named one of the ten greatest river conservationists of our time and one of the 100 great paddlers of the century by Paddler magazine.
Author of 10 books, M.H. Dutch Salmon moved to SW NM from northwest Minnesota in 1979. For more than 40 years he has lived and hunted with a pack of 6 to 10 hounds, and he still has too many fishing rods. He has served on both the Interstate Stream Commission and Game Commission. Dutch founded the Gila Conservation Coalition in 1984.
Philip Connors has written about the outdoors for a wide range of publications. A river runner, Connors knows the Gila River intimately. A fire lookout in the Gila National Forest, Connors is the author of Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. His newest book, A Song for the River, is about the future of the Gila River & the people who love it.
Adrian Oglesby has worked as a water attorney for many years, focusing on river and riparian restoration, agricultural preservation, efficient water management, governmental accountability, and fish and wildlife conservation. He is currently the Director of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the UNM School of Law.
Melissa Sevigny is the author of Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator in the fields of water policy, sustainable agriculture, and planetary science, and is currently the Science & Technology Reporter for KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Steve Harris, the owner of Far Flung Adventures, has been kayaking for over 30 years. Harris is also the Executive Director of Rio Grande Restoration, a New Mexico non-profit organization, established in 1994 to secure the river flows necessary to support restoration of the “great river”.
Denielle Perry is an Asst Professor at NAU’s School of Earth and Sustainability. She worked for many years as a rafting guide on the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande and Rio Chama in northern New Mexico. She says "It’s no secret that I love water. This passion fuels my research in how environmental institutions and values influence development and conservation of water."
sinjin eberle & tony estrada
Join filmmakers Sinjin Eberle and Tony Estrada for an exploration of film and digital media as tools for social and environmental change. Estrada and Eberle will introduce and show a few of their short documentaries that demonstrate the power of film to inspire activism.
Silver City, NM
The Gila River Festival is based in Silver City, New Mexico, the gateway to the Gila Wilderness -- America's first wilderness area. A variety of expert-guided field trips will be offered to bring you unforgettable experiences of the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest and the Gila River, New Mexico's last wild river. Silver City has a vibrant historic downtown and thriving art community.
A wide variety of lodging options is available.
THANK YOU! to our sponsors whose financial contributions make the Gila River Festival possible!
Photographs: Tori Grass, Stephen Dorn, Jay Hemphill, Wick Beavers, Maddy Alfero, Allyson Siwik, Mark Watson, Mike Fugagli, Nathan Newcomer.