Grand County, get on board for National Public Lands Day
Grand County Trails
National Public Lands Day this year is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26. This is only days 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 held every year for the last 22 years at the end of September. This is a cooperative effort by the federal land-management 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 21st anniversary participating in NPLD, and this year we are celebrating Rocky Mountain National Park’s 100th birthday. We are dedicating this year’s NPLD in memory of Kevin Pellini, a division leader for the Park’s NPLD component for 12 years. Kevin was an energetic and enthusiastic individual who was killed in a logging accident in 2008 when a tree fell on him during logging operations.
Our NPLD 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.
The Inn at SilverCreek is again donating the Grand Ballroom as our headquarters for a day full of food, camaraderie, and trail work to give back to our public lands. And for those who can’t donate their time in the dirt, there are plenty of opportunities to support and serve those going to the field. We need volunteers at registration, for food collection and preparation, food serving, room preparation and cleanup, and more. Monetary donations are used to purchase materials and food donations received are served to our 300 volunteers and staff.
• This year’s BLM motorized-use NPLD project is the Wolford Open OHV Area Improvements and Expansion, located just north of Kremmling with the purpose of enhancing the only open-for-cross-country-travel area for motorized use in Grand County. Work includes building fencing to delineate the Open area boundary, scarifying and seeding adjacent areas not open to travel, defining a parking/staging area and developing a loop trail on the outer edge of the open area. Work will ensure visitors know the boundary of the area, provide a dedicated area for parking/staging and prevent trespass on adjacent private property. The project seeks approximately 20 volunteers for work that will include lifting, pounding stakes, using hand tools for dirt work and seeding of areas.
• Rocky Mountain National Park will be leading a project on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail on the Green Mountain Trail. Included in the project plans are construction of two turnpikes, water erosion control measures and general trail maintenance and cleanup. NPS is requesting 35 people, but can always use more volunteers. Skill rating is moderate to difficult.
• For Fraser to Granby trail users, Colorado Parks & Wildlife and Granby Ranch are working together to construct buck n’ rail fence and gates on Granby Ranch near the gazebo. The work will make possible the seasonal closure of a portion of the Fraser to Granby Trail to protect important winter range habitat for elk and deer on the conservation easement. Ten to 15 volunteers will be needed for this project with difficulty rated moderate.
• Bikers, hikers and Nordic skiers alike would enjoy helping the Forest Service and Headwaters Trails Alliance on the South Fork Loop Trail near Idlewild, focusing on construction of a 16’ single-span bridge and 25 feet of boardwalk, construction of 200 feet of new trail, decommissioning and restoration of 150 feet of the existing trail. South Fork Loop is a very popular, heavily used non-motorized trail located in the Idlewild area of the Sulphur Ranger District near the town of Winter Park.
• Bikers will love the Leapfrog to Blue Sky Connector Trail offered by HTA. The project involves new trail construction with soil and water control measures to enhance trail connectivity. Keith Sanders from GIMBA says “Creating a trail such as this is a great example of how the Master Trails Plan has already influenced on-the-ground changes for a better system.” Site manager is requesting 15 enthusiastic people to assist with this project and is family friendly. Skill rating: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT
• Last but not least, the rafters, kayakers and boarders can help keep the Colorado River clean by picking up trash and removing debris with BLM from Pumphouse as far as Two Bridges 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 join in the cleanup on Saturday. What great lessons to be learned! This project gets more and more popular each year, so sign up ahead of time at 970-724-3034 Katy Smith so raft space can be reserved for you or your group.
Breakfast is provided at registration starting at 7 a.m. at the Grand Ballroom in the Inn at SilverCreek on Saturday, Sept. 26. 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 lunchbag 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 DeAntonios and Hernandos 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 Alpine 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 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Call 970-887-4120 or visit http://www.headwaterstrails.org for more information, to sign up or to volunteer.
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