CFI bids farewell to Professor Valley field camp
Oct 10, 2013 | 3086 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tipis and yurts provide rustic comfort for students at CFI’s Professor Valley Field Camp. The non profit group is moving its field camp to a nearby location during the coming winter. Photo courtesy of CFI
Tipis and yurts provide rustic comfort for students at CFI’s Professor Valley Field Camp. The non profit group is moving its field camp to a nearby location during the coming winter. Photo courtesy of CFI
After 26 years of operating a field camp in Professor Valley on land leased from the Bureau of Land Management, Moab-based outdoor education non profit Canyonlands Field Institute is relocating the camp to neighboring private land this winter. On Oct. 11, CFI will celebrate its many successful years at the cottonwood grove location by hosting a “star spangled” dinner at the field camp for local supporters and community members, according to a news release from CFI.

  CFI uses the camp to provide school groups from across the nation the opportunity to enjoy a retreat, learn with CFI naturalists about desert plants, animals, geology and public lands management, and work on their own school curriculum as well.

  The field camp is located 20 miles from Moab up state Route 128 beyond the Castle Valley turnoff. The camp is nestled in a cottonwood grove 1.5 miles up a dirt road along Professor Creek. During their time at the camp, kids slept on cots in Lakota-style tipis, meals were prepared in a semi-permanent kitchen housed within a yurt and daily classes were held outdoors along the creek, on hikes in the foothills below nearby Fisher Mesa, under a shade ramada in camp or inside a classroom yurt.

  Two years ago, with the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s Resource Management Plan, it became clear that CFI needed to find a new location by spring 2014. Given the unique beauty and location of the Professor Creek site, however, the group found it difficult to imagine anything else truly fitting the bill. But with the help of local “angel” Jennifer Speers, CFI was able to secure private land nearby on a 40-acre former ranch situated along the creek just downstream from the current BLM location. Speers purchased the land from rancher Joe Taylor and gave CFI a 25-year lease with option to buy.

  Last month, at a special dinner hosted by Jane and Ken Sleight at Pack Creek Ranch, CFI launched the next phase of the changeover, which involves site planning and fundraising. The group plans to remove the field camp facilities from the BLM site and install them at the new site during the winter so CFI will be ready to begin hosting groups at the Taylor Ranch site next spring, pending final approval of site plans by Grand County.

  The send-off celebration will be held at the Professor Valley Field Camp on Saturday evening, Oct. 11. A shuttle service from CFI headquarters in Moab will be provided free of charge. The evening will include a social hour and hors d’oeuvres beginning at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring musical instruments and stories for the after-dinner campfire. Overnight camping is optional, and guests are encouraged to bring tents and sleeping bags or to bunk in one of the tipis. Paid reservations are $30 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 6. Seating is limited.

  To reserve a spot visit, call 435-259-7750 or email

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