Sheridan Arts Foundation welcomes Park Ranger extraordinaire to Telluride

Sheridan Arts Foundation welcomes Park Ranger extraordinaire to Telluride

[click “Play” to hear Shelton Johnson’s conversation with Susan]

DSC_0406z_0 Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is a board member of Mountainfilm in Telluride, where his series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” premiered in 2009. Among the many noteworthy individuals featured in the Burn’s classic-in the-making is Yosemite National Park Ranger extraordinaire and author/poet Shelton Johnson.

Shelton Johnson is the featured guest at the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s 19th annual Wild West Fest/Chip Allen Mentorship Program (C.A.M.P.), June 7 – 12. He is scheduled to speak at the historic Sheridan Opera House Wednesday, June 9, 7 p.m., about his involvement in the National Parks system and the history of the “Buffalo Soldiers,” African Americans who served in WWI and were discovered  to have served in Yosemite as some of the first Park Rangers. The 45-minute Burn’s segment from the National Parks series,”This is America,” the one featuring Johnson, is also on the evening’s program.

Earlier on June 9, 3 – 5 p.m, Between the Covers Bookstore, Johnson signs copies of his critically acclaimed book Gloryland, the fictional memoir of a Black Indian who flees the South after the Civil War, joins the Ninth Cavalry, becomes a buffalo soldier, and eventually serves in Yosemite National Park. The themes that resonate throughout Johnson’s poetic meditation are race and wilderness, spirituality and ancestry. 

Many of the young people who have come to Telluride for the Wild West Fest, all members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, have spent their young lives on mean streets. For them, a week in town celebrating Western arts, culture, and customs provides a much-needed gust of refreshing mountain air that clears lungs and opens hearts and minds.

Shelton Johnson is a walking, talking embodiment of Wild West Fest objectives: strengthen and shorten the bridge between inner-city youth and the great outdoors.

To learn more about this remarkable man and role model, click the “play” button and listen to Shelton Johnson’s podcast.

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