Get out and give back to Grand County on Public Lands Day | SkyHiNews.com

Get out and give back to Grand County on Public Lands Day

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails

Diana Lynn Rau

In July I wrote about National Public Lands Day, this year scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27.  This is only two weeks away and the projects to be worked on go right to the heart of trails for hikers, bikers, Nordic skiers, and boaters alike.

NPLD is a nationwide event that has taken place every year for the last 20 years at the end of September.  This is a cooperative effort by the federal land agencies and the public to provide you with the opportunity to give back to your public lands.

In recent years the federal budgets have been hacked away even in the face of ever-increasing usage of public lands. This has limited the creation of new recreation opportunities and new trails and affected the maintenance of the trail systems and recreation opportunities that we already have. 

Grand County is celebrating its 20th anniversary participating in NPLD.  Our theme this year is wilderness for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Our site has multiple projects that encompass all the land agencies in Grand County and offer a day of fun and good honest work to improve our trails.

People come from all over to give back to the trails they use and love. Volunteers are the heart of the project and Grand county gives to support this incredible effort.

If you love Rocky Mountain National Park, you can volunteer to help the Park Service construct two turnpikes, re-establish tread and build soil and erosion controls along the Continental Divide Scenic Trail.  If you are a fisherman, you can help the BLM improve fish habitat by stabilizing the Fraser River with willow plantings and shoreline erosion control measures. 

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Bikers, hikers and Nordic skiers alike would enjoy helping the Forest Service construct a bridge on the South Fork trail in the Idlewild Trail System in Winter Park.  Or anyone can choose the family friendly Headwaters Trail Alliance project where all can get down and dirty repairing tread, removing rocks, reseeding and smoothing out trail surface along a mile stretch of the Creekside Trail near Fraser.  Imagine the kids wanting to get dirty and having fun. Grandparents, too.

Last but not least, the rafters, kayakers and boarders can help keep the Colorado River clean by picking up trash and removing debris with the BLM from Pumphouse as far as State Bridge on the Colorado River.  The Sophomore River Trip runs in conjunction with this river cleanup. The school kids and staff have classes operated by the High School and BLM on Friday running the river Pumphouse to Radium and all joining in the cleanup on Saturday.  What great lessons to be learned.

Breakfast is provided at registration starting at 7 a.m. at the Grand Ballroom in the Inn at SilverCreek on Saturday, Sept. 27.  Park your car and leave the driving to us.  We'll shuttle you to the various projects.  Pack your own lunch from the huge array of sandwiches provided by almost every restaurant in the valley. Add FritoLay chips, Safeway fruit and one of those famous Carver brownies, Pepsi sodas, or McDonald's bottled water.

GET GREEN and bring your own lunch bag or tote sack or water bottle from previous years.  Your NPLD T-shirt lists all our incredible sponsors and the list covers the entire back of the shirt.

When your project is done, take your van back to the Inn at SilverCreek to enjoy complimentary beer, wine and sodas, pizza appetizers by DeAntonio's and Hernando's and a fabulous lasagna dinner by the Winter Park Resort. Volunteering for the second year, Cole Ratzlaff will present his delightful music for your enjoyment. Everyone who returns is eligible for the volunteer raffle ranging from two-night cabin stay at the YMCA to lift tickets to Subway coupons and merchandise provided by local merchants.  Mind blowing!

Cindy Kleh sums it up:  "We love our trails. They take us to beautiful, natural places, provide us with aerobic exercise and even improve our mood.  They also attract tourists to our shops, restaurants and local businesses, keeping Grand County's economy strong.  But they don't appear by magic and maintain themselves.  Trails need our help."

Come join the largest volunteer day of the year – National Public Lands Day at the Inn at SilverCreek Convention Center starting 7a.m. Saturday, Sept.27.  Call 970-887-4120 or visit http://www.headwaterstrails.org  for more information or to sign up.

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