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Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Searching for Lost Public Lands Trekkers, Servicing Cars (and
watching one blow up), and Setting Up Camp is All in a DayŪs Work

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Aug. 28, 2002-With real-life drama surpassing Survivor and other so-called reality programs and involving solid citizen-adventurers (not soft porn stars), two American Frontiers teams (eight people) are traversing AmericaŪs public lands for two months on foot, mountain bike, horseback, on Honda ATV, and more. Twenty equally adventurous support team members are finding that keeping these teams alive and on track is not a walk in the park--even if it is a National Park.

Along with cooking, doing laundry, and paving the way for the four team members on each team --the Northern team, which started their journey on the border of Canada and Montana, and the Southern team, which began at the border of Mexico and New Mexico--the 20 members of the žteams behind the teamsÓ are finding the unexpected along with the expected as the teams make their way to Salt Lake City, Utah for their Sept. 28th reunion.

žOur primary purpose is to keep these trekkers alive, healthy, and fed,Ó said Charlie Thorpe, team leader for the Northern team. žWhat that means is setting up camp, getting the assortment of vehicles to the right spots at the right times, cooking their meals, midnight searches for lost travelers, and replacing cars that spontaneously burst into flames!Ó

While at a ranger station, David Mensing, one of the trek organizers who was assisting the Northern team, watched in disbelief as his rental car burnt to the ground. žHad I been driving one of the CR-Vs that Honda donated to this Journey, this never would have happened!Ó Mensing quipped.

žWhen we stepped across the border from Mexico, we did it literally arm-in-arm with the support team,Ó southern team trekker Jan Nesset said at a Flagstaff school Friday, žand we now realize that it was more than symbolic. This journey would be impossible without them. They are indispensable.Ó

Conceived and planned by the Albuquerque, NM-based Public Lands Interpretive Association, American Frontiers: A Public Lands Journey is a public awareness campaign sponsored by a combination of public and private partners, including the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, National Geographic Society, the Bureau of Land Management, American Honda, and the Coleman Company. American Frontiers is designed to educate Americans about the value, relevancy and role of public lands, with a goal of keeping these lands in public trust.

MEDIA NOTE: The trek is open to media; a limited number of credentials are available. To interview Lisa Madsen, Executive Director of the Public Lands Interpretive Association, or any of the trek team members, or to join the trek for an hour or for a day or a night, contact Debbie Payton at (404) 245-8500. Credential request forms are available online at and can be emailed to


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