Grand County Public Lands Day a time to give back | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Public Lands Day a time to give back

Cindy Kleh
Special to the Sky-Hi News

Courtesy photo

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.

Saturday, Sept. 27, is National Public Lands Day – a coast-to-coast one-day event that brings together more than 100,000 Americans to collect trash, plant trees, pull weeds and maintain trails.

Grand County's NPLD draws more participants and completes the largest amount of work of any NPLD event in the country. We are celebrating our 20th year as the longest, continuous NPLD event in the U.S. Our volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt and celebrate day's end with music and dinner that will include a slide show of previous Public Lands Day events, beginning in 1995.

Each project is geared to certain types of outdoor enthusiasts such as mountain bikers, river rafters, anglers and hikers. You don't have to be a super athlete to take part in NPLD. There are less physical jobs for older folks and kids, or for those who are disabled or not in trail-building shape. We need people to help decorate, pick up food donations, work registration, and help with meals.

Sign up ahead of time (especially if you plan to do the river clean-up and don't own a boat) or just show up at 7 a.m. on Sept. 27 in Granby at the SilverCreek Convention Center and sign up for the project of your choice on the morning of the event. Buses leave at 7:45 a.m., so get there in time to eat a free continental breakfast and assemble a hearty lunch for the trail. Then board the bus or van of your chosen project for a brilliant autumn day in the wilderness working alongside other outdoor lovers.

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NPLD 2014 projects include a family friendly Upper Colorado River clean-up using rafts; trail improvement project on Creekside Trail off of St. Louis Creek Road in Fraser; willow planting and shoreline erosion control measures on the Fraser River with Trout Unlimited; the construction of a 30-foot bridge over the South Fork of Ranch Creek in the Idlewild trail system near Winter Park; and work on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Kids are welcome on all projects, and there are plenty of kid-friendly jobs for them, but the river cleanup and Creekside Trail projects are especially geared to youngsters.

At the end of the day, all of the volunteers meet back at SilverCreek for pizza and a delicious lasagna dinner complete with dessert and live music. Everyone who contributes to the success of Grand County's NPLD gets a ticket for a chance to win door prizes such as rounds of golf, ski tickets and outdoor gear.

Grand County's NPLD is a huge success each year because of volunteers like you and the many businesses and government entities that take part: SilverCreek and Winter Park Resort, local restaurants and businesses, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Parks Service, Headwaters Trails Alliance, the towns of Fraser, Winter Park, Granby and Grand Lake, Grand County, Fraser Valley Rec, Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, Grand Foundation and Channel 17 TV.

For more information, stop by the U.S. Forest Service office in Granby or call 970-887-4120. If you have good photos from previous NPLD events, please email them to Reid Armstrong at krarmstrong@fs.fed.us.

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