One more time forest supervisor Jerri Marr was in the spotlight - and the smile never left her face.

At the Aug. 23 Happy Trails benefit she was with an audience of like minds, people whose focus is the outdoors, the trails, open space, bike paths and parks.

The woman who became the calm, trusted face of the Waldo Canyon fire, but who diverts that spotlight to the work of the Forest Service, supervises 3.5 million acres in Pike and San Isabel national forests and Comanche and Cimarron national grasslands.

Marr was born in the Bronx where "we don't have a lot of open space." That changed when the family lived in Tennessee where she joined 4-H, she told the Trails and Open Space Coalition and Friends of the Nature Centers. She's happy to serve as an inspiration to young woman and girls interested in careers like hers.

TOSC executive director Susan Davies told the audience that today "there are so many people passionate about our mission (and many of you are involved with the Ute Valley Park project)" that 200 additional park acres have been added. It will connect the park's trail to the Pikes Peak Greenway.

Davies offered a salute to former parks director Nancy Lewis, asking, "how many parks did you save?"

"All of them," said Lewis to cheers. In fact, one of those parks is named for Lewis.

Happy Trails, at Bear Creek Nature Center, featured Buffalo Gals barbecue and goodies from other sponsors, including Bristol Brewing Co., Sovereignty Wines and desserts from 14 restaurants.

See more about the Trails and Open Space Coalition: trailsand

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