Cottonwood Gulch Appeal Letter Spring 2021

Dear Gulch Community:

When we cancelled our 2020 programs, we were afraid that our beloved Basecamp would be silent. Instead, we connected with two Native-run non-profits, and it became a flurry of (socially distanced) activity. Our staff worked with them to deliver food and firewood to people in need and all the while we made Basecamp healthier and more resilient. 

We are now asking for donations to continue this work of making the Basecamp forest healthier and safer, and our community partnerships stronger.

We would like to continue working with Chizh for Cheii, a Gallup-based group whose name translates to “Firewood for Grandpa.” They have been gathering downed wood from overgrown forests at Basecamp to deliver to people in need, 1,500 loads so far. This reduces the danger of wildfires and promotes the health of the Basecamp forests. Win-win.

Where will your donation go? 

  • Make Basecamp Healthier and Support Local Partnerships. The Chizh for Cheii participants have been using pickup trucks to carry wood. Buying a trailer (specifically, a hydraulic dump trailer) will increase their capacity significantly. We will share $8,000 of the donations we receive before June 1 to help them make it happen, and use the rest to improve the Basecamp environment with additional forest work and ecology programs.
  • Where does the wood go? Chizh for Cheii takes our excess wood and delivers it to high-risk Navajo elders who use it for cooking, warmth, and ceremonies.
  • To reduce the risk of wildfire at Basecamp: Many sections of the Basecamp forest are overgrown. Decades of logging and fire suppression created unnaturally thick forests that are at risk of catastrophic wildfire. We need funds to thin portions of the forest and add prescribed fire to the landscape.
  • More animals and plants! Sections of our forest are so unnaturally thick that humans can barely pass through. Imagine being a bull elk! Healthy forest management will increase the ecological diversity and resiliency of the land.
  • To teach kids how to care for the land and each other: As COVID allows, we will tie this partnership to our programs. Kids can learn about forest health and why removing excess wood is good for the land. And they will learn the value of community partnerships.

Please consider a donation to help us make this happen, and keep Basecamp thriving. You can donate here


Jordan Stone

Executive Director

Chizh for Cheii hauling wood from Basecamp

Chizh for Cheii’s stated goal is “No Cold Elders” on Navajo land. To achieve that takes teamwork, grit and dedication–and they are helping to increase the resiliency and diversity of our Basecamp forest in the process. In order to fulfill their goals, we’ve offered to help Chizh for Cheii purchase a much-needed trailer to move firewood to surrounding communities. Your support will help make that a reality, and help us take additional steps to improve forest health.

Jon Kinsel

This is Jon Kinsel, 100 years old. He’s one of the last few Navajo Code Talkers still alive. Chizh for Cheii brought him some firewood from the Gulch. It was a four-hour drive in the snow and other challenges. He asked for his photo to be taken, as he enjoys his coffee and much needed firewood. He said show this to everyone who helped. And Jon says thank you.  Thanks to Jon for allowing his photograph to be taken to encourage support of our land conservation and Navajo relief efforts.