Volunteer: Clear trails, plant trees on Public Lands Day
September 23, 2008
Outdoors enthusiasts across the country will be donning work gloves and hiking boots for annual volunteer projects that serve to “give back” to natural lands.
Public Lands Day brings more than 100,000 Americans together across America as volunteers provide millions of dollars of work and complete much-needed maintenance projects in national parks, forests and on other federal lands.
Annually, Grand County hosts one of the largest National Public Lands Day celebrations in the country, according to Lands Day organizers, with this year’s Lands Day set for this Saturday.
The Grand County Headwaters Trails Alliance also takes part on a local level.
New trails, facilities, and newly planted trees usually come out of a dedicated one-day effort.
In the Granby area, there are six projects geared toward enthusiasts of mountain biking, motorized vehicles, fishing, hiking and boating, organizers say. There are also plans to plant 3,000 lodgepole pine tree seedlings in the Green Ridge campground area of the Arapaho Forest’s National Recreation Area.
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Saturday’s Public Lands volunteer opportunities are tailored to accommodate people of all abilities and ages. Volunteers will be served a complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner and will be provided transportation to the projects.
Tools, instructions and safety demonstrations are given prior to assignments, as well as a National Public Lands Day T-shirt, a free one-day-pass to public lands and a goodie bag.
At the end of the day, there will be an awards banquet with drawings for several door prizes, such as a round of golf, gift certificates to local sporting goods and Nordic ski passes.
Volunteers throughout the county are needed and are encouraged to meet at 7 a.m. Saturday morning at Granby Ranch’s SolVista Ski Basin for a day chockfull of rewarding work and outdoors camaraderie.
National Public Lands Day volunteers projects in Grand County:
– A new section of trail will be constructed in Rocky Mountain National Park that will be part of the Continental Divide Trail. The trail will connect and provide easier (non-motorized) access between the National Park Service Divide trail and the Forest Service Divide trail. As many as 40 to 50 volunteers are needed to construct the new trail, which is about 1.2 miles long and runs between the Onahu Creek trail and the Bowen Gulch Trail. Work on hilly terrain requires a hike of .25 to 1.5 miles, and difficulty of work is rated “moderate.”
– The U.S. Forest Service will oversee improvements off FSR 120 (Kawuneeche Road) off CR4 just past the Idleglen split with FSR 123 near Grand Lake. About 30 to 40 people are needed, and the work is rated moderate. Work will include: Constructing buck-n-rail fencing in certain sections for resource protection; hardening or rehabbing some of the dispersed camping areas; and possibly seeding of old sites.
– The Bureau of Land Management will create a trail on the bank of the Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Site where hikers and anglers have caused multiple access routes and erosion and the footing is unsafe during wet or frozen conditions. A new trailhead and crib wall will be constructed, and old user-created trails will be rehabilitated and naturalized. Difficulty is rated “moderate,” with several tasks suitable for children. Please note: It may be more convenient for volunteers to meet at the pump house for this event. If planning to meet at this site, pre-register to ensure there is a lunch and goody bag available in your name.
– Headwaters Trails Alliance will construct two bridges on the Fraser to Granby Trail. Work is rated “moderate.” The trail is located off of Village Road in Granby Ranch. Approximately 15 to 20 people are needed to construct the bridges, put in rock walls and clean up the trail. The grade is about 2 percent with a hike of about one mile.
– The U.S. Forest Service will lead a project on the Devil’s Thumb/High Lonesome Trail, part of the Continental Divide Trail, which will continue uphill from where the National Public Lands Day 2007 project left off. About 30 volunteers are needed to work on rehabilitation of drainage work and to install a boundary sign at the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary. The work will involve a two-mile hike from the trailhead and is rated “moderate to difficult.”
– Volunteers will plant 3,000 lodgepole seedlings in the Green Ridge campground. The trees are needed to replace trees lost to the mountain pine beetle infestation. As these trees grow they will provide wind protection, shading, and animal habitat for the campground. It is a U.S. Forest Service project, rated “moderate to strenuous.”