Rotary Club seeks eponymous peak near Loveland Pass
September 9, 2016
On Sunday, Sept. 11, Colorado's Rotary clubs are encouraging Rotarians and community members to join them on a hike to summit a mountain that has recently become known to many as Rotary Peak.
As use of the name becomes more and more common, the state's Rotary clubs are hoping to use Rotary Peak as a target location for activities to encourage the local community to get outside and give back to the environment.
The name "Rotary Peak" was first proposed not by a Rotarian, but by author Dave Muller, who has written eight books about Colorado trails. The 12,479-foot peak is located on the Continental Divide Trail 1.5 miles west of Loveland Pass, and Muller had long wondered why the popular trail had no name, as named trails make rescue operations easier and are more convenient for reference.
In addition to writing hiking guides, Muller also led a hiking group that went on weekly hikes; one of the members was Rotarian Rick Clark, secretary and former president of the Rotary Club of Littleton. After learning about Clark's involvement in Rotary, Muller realized that the club would make an ideal namesake for the unnamed peak.
Since he proposed the name in 2013, Muller, 82, has hiked Rotary Peak several times with many Rotarians.
"It can be a great way to introduce children and adults to the mountains," he said.
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After Muller proposed his idea to name the peak, Clark took the suggestion to Rotary's district management, which encompasses about 60 individual Rotary clubs. The leadership of the district was behind the idea and gave Clark permission to create a working group to gather support for the name.
This group assembled documents of support from Governor Hickenlooper, several of Colorado's U.S. senators and representatives, and many state and local leaders. The process took about eighteen months in all. However, the name "Rotary Peak" is not yet official; in order for the name to be formally recognized, it needs to be approved by the Colorado Board on Geographic Names as well as the United States Board on Geographic Names. These are long processes that may take up to five years to complete.
Meanwhile, said Clark, "It's evolved to the point now where we're really focusing our efforts on a variety of different programs to engage youth throughout Colorado."
In July, a group of over twenty members of Rotary clubs and their family and friends hiked Rotary Peak, one of many Rotary hiking groups planned to ascend their namesake peak in the future. The trail for the peak is a social trail created by hikers, as opposed to a trail created by the U.S. Forest Service, so the Forest Service does not maintain the path. Therefore, as part of their engagement with the peak, Rotary plans to involve local youth and Rotarians with trail restoration and stewardship.
"We're working with the volunteer organization Friends of the Dillon Ranger District to have Rotarians volunteer in that area," said Jim Brook, assistant district manager for Rotary District 5450.
The youth hike on Sunday, Sept. 11, will begin at 9 a.m. All are welcome to join; the group will meet at the trailhead on the west side of the top of Loveland Pass.