Many of the places where kids could go explore, especially in the last few years in Greeley, were paved with asphalt and covered with houses. Snake Mountain, a small pocket of green where kids used to go sledding, was eaten by Wal-Mart. Large chunks of land beyond 59th Avenue between U.S. 34 and 4th Street are now subdivisions. And what's left is private land, signed and posted, either ready for sale or fenced away from the pubic.
Larry Rogstad still visits the place where he grew up in Oklahoma. But he doesn't go clamming in Quail Creek anymore. It's now a subdivision.
Gone with the wind
As the chances to explore outside are lost to subdivisions and well-lit streets, the idea of traveling to a world where cell phones don't work, where the Internet isn't available and where dinner might be a hot dog over a fire seems increasingly foreign to families.
"A lot of it, quite frankly, is just convincing kids that they want to go outside," said Leslie Thibodeaux, camping director for the Boy Scouts of America Longs Peak Council in Greeley.
After a downswing, Longs Peak Council has enjoyed a recent uptick in kids camping with their families. Most of them have never camped before, but Thibodeaux said the premiere place, at Red Feather Lakes, absorbs the intimidation many feel about spending a night in the woods. The major hurdle these days is the concern that comes from that unfamiliarity.