Grand County: You use the trails, time to help maintain them
Special to the Sky-Hi Daily News
Most people use and appreciate the trails of the high country and some vow each year to volunteer a day of work to give something back to this cherished resource.
One in three acres in the nation belongs to the public, but millions of dollars in manpower are needed to complete backlogged maintenance projects or create new trails and facilities. National Public Lands Day (Sept. 27) makes it easy to pitch in. In its 15th year as a coast-to-coast one-day event, NPLD brings more than 100,000 Americans together to collect trash, pull weeds, plant trees, construct trails and build bridges over wetlands.
Grand County hosts one of the largest and longest-running (14 years) NPLD events in the country, with six different projects to choose from ” all during peak foliage with projects for most every age and skill/fitness ability. They are:
– A new section of trail in Rocky Mountain National Park that will be part of the Continental Divide Trail. Difficulty: moderate. About 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. The work is on hilly terrain and requires a hike of .25 to 1.5 miles.
– 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. Difficulty: moderate. About 40 people are needed for constructing buck ‘n’ rail fencing, hardening or rehabilitating some of the dispersed camping areas and possible seeding of old sites.
– The Bureau of Land Management will create a trail on the bank of the Colorado River near the Pumphouse Recreation Site. Difficulty: moderate, with several tasks suitable for children. A new trailhead and crib wall will be constructed, and old user-created trails will be rehabilitated and naturalized. For those who would like to meet at the work site on State Bridge Road, call the BLM ahead of time so they can bring a lunch and goodie bag: (970) 724-3040. A separate party/barbecue will be held at the site after the work is completed.
– Headwaters Trails Alliance will construct two bridges on the Fraser-to-Granby Trail. Difficulty: moderate. The trail is located off of Village Road in Granby Ranch. Approximately 20 people are needed to construct the bridges, put in rock walls and clean the trail up. The grade is about two percent with a hike of about one mile or so required.
– The USFS will lead a project on the Devil’s Thumb/High Lonesome Trail, which will continue uphill from where the NPLD 2007 project left off. Difficulty: moderate to difficult. 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.
– Volunteers will plant lodgepole seedlings in the Green Ridge campground to replace trees lost to the mountain pine beetle infestation. It is a USFS project, rated moderate to strenuous.
Volunteers receive complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner; transportation to each project site, tools, instructions and safety demonstrations, a T-shirt and goodie bag.
Many return year after year for a day of fun in the sun with like-minded outdoor-loving people, as well as for the appreciation party at the end of the day, complete with live entertainment, beverages and beer, and door prizes.
Giving back to trails and open space not only feels good, it’s a personal expression of thanks. Participants show up at SolVista at Granby Ranch ski area at 7 a.m. To preregister (not required), contact the USFS in Granby at (970) 887-4100 or visit publiclandsday.org.
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