Rau: Role models to the outdoors: Joan Shaw, Jean Miller | SkyHiNews.com

Rau: Role models to the outdoors: Joan Shaw, Jean Miller

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Jean Mill this month, after winning her age class in a 10K race.
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Rulnick |

Those who go before us can be such an influence on our lives. We all pick people that we want to be like in the way we live our lives, sometimes it’s a family member like Mom or Dad or Aunt Sue, sometimes it’s friends. Sometimes it’s a talent they have that we admire, sometimes it’s the way they interact with people, sometimes it’s just what they appear to be.

Grand County has lost several iconic people in the last year. People who have been a part of local history.

People like Maury Flanagan and before him Jerry Groswald, who both shaped the local ski industry, both whom I loved dearly. The passing of Joan Shaw last year and Jean Miller earlier this month had a quite an effect on me as female role models and friends I held dear.

Joan Shaw was somewhat flamboyant with her incredible musical talents, love of people, ability to encourage others with her energy and enthusiasm, and I remember most her incredible smile. She made a difference volunteering her musical talents at the schools and church and, as a part of the Wilderness Group, she made a difference to trails in Grand County for many years. Joan came to the Fraser Valley with her husband Roger to retire and considered it her heaven on earth. As a part of the Wilderness Group, she helped take care of that heaven.

Jean Miller was the epitome of grace and dignity who, with fantastic energy and enthusiasm, modeled to her family pride in work, love for each other, loyalty, and responsibility. Her formidable intellect made for wonderful discussions and writings about nature and local history. Her contributions to the County were legendary on School Boards, Library Boards, Historical Association and her Church. She was a champion of women everywhere especially those who joined her hiking exploits for which she was famous. Also a part of the Wilderness Group, Jean led hiking groups, worked on trails and defended the environment with a passion. Jean was one of my most dependable volunteers for National Public Lands Day even in her 80s when a rake and shovel became more difficult to use. She was a person who lived her beliefs and the Fraser Valley was a better place for her influence. Sorry for using so many words from her obituary, but her family described her well. Perhaps the most important opinion of a person is how he or she is describe by their family.

Thank you Wilderness group for having people like Joan and Jean for us to look up too and for leading us to take such care with our environment. And to other groups like Wilderness groups or FVPT or HTA who depend on volunteers I, for one, salute you all for what you do.

Thanks to all those people volunteering for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24. Preparation for these projects has been happening county-wide by Park Service, Forest Service, BLM, and HTA. Logs are harvested and laid out for lining the meadows after taking out the old rotted materials. Trails are scrutinized to see how they can best be improved. Rebar is cut ready to be pounded. Boats are rounded up to pull trash from the river deposited by careless users. So much has to be considered and worked out in advance.

For 22 years, a dedicated group of people have spent countless tireless hours preparing for others to volunteer their time to give back to our Public Lands. I salute these people who work together with concern for the environment as their impetus. It is the incredible beauty of Grand County that drives our economics and is the main reason most of us live here.

Come join us on Public Lands Day Saturday at the YYMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center/Camp Chief Ouray at 7 a.m. and see what you can do to give back. Volunteers are needed for food service, registration, work on the projects, and the party afterwards. Call BJ Duffy at USFS 970-887-4120 or Headwaters Trails Alliance at 970-726-1013 to volunteer or show up 7 a.m. for breakfast.

The Fall colors are at their peak so be outside and enjoy them. At least go out this weekend to your favorite places and just take in the incredible beauty around us. When you’re told to take a hike, go do it!

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