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Mesa Verde, CO:  Rick Kempa joins the Mesa Verde National Park 2018 Artist in Residence Program from September 3 through 15. Rick, a poet and essayist of Rock Springs, Wyoming, took his first hike on the Colorado Plateau as a teenager in 1974, and has been returning ever since. A life-long lover of our National Parks, he has twice served as Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park, and also at Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona. His most recent books are the anthologies GOING DOWN GRAND: Poems from the Canyon and ON FOOT: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories, as well as the poetry collection Ten Thousand Voices. Having recently retired after thirty years of teaching at Western Wyoming College, Kempa is embarking on a path of full-time writing and walking.

Two free programs are planned, one in the park and one to be offered as a workshop at the Mancos Public Library.

 Saturday workshop: Kempa will offer a writing workshop at Mancos Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9:30 AM -12:30 PM. The workshop, he says, “is an open invitation for writers to spend a morning together writing, walking, conversing, and inspiring each other.” Participants should “bring whatever tools for seeing and writing that you may have: a pocket notebook, binoculars, perhaps even a magnifying glass.” They are also welcome to bring a sampling of their recent work for sharing. Space is limited to 15 people. Please call Teri at 970-529-4642 to reserve your place.

Evening Presentation: On Thursday, September 13, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM, Rick Kempa will share stories, poems, and pictures from his backpacking adventures on the Colorado Plateau, and from his time at Mesa Verde. The event will take place in the library conference room at the Far View Lodge, and is free and open to the public.

Mesa Verde National Park’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program provides professional artists the opportunity to become part of a long established tradition of artists creating art in our national parks. The AIR program is managed for the park by the nonprofit Mesa Verde Museum Association. Learn more at and at

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at