National Public Lands Day, help our trails |

National Public Lands Day, help our trails

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Diana Lynn Rau

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) this year is scheduled for Saturday, September 24. This is only a couple 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 held every year for the last 23 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. Put it on your calendar now!

Grand County is celebrating its 22th anniversary participating in NPLD! This year we are celebrating the centennial year of the National Park Service. 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 YMCA is again donating use of Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center / Camp Chief Ouray 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 almost 250 volunteers and staff.

The planning committee is trying out one of volunteer suggestions this year by cutting down on wasted food. So we will not be providing lunches this year as a trial endeavor. Please make sure you bring ample food for your lunch and snacks to keep you going until you enjoy our Appreciation Party dinner by the Winter Park Resort. We are asking our volunteers again this year to bring along a cloth or canvas tote bag to collect our little “goodies” at registration and a reusable water bottle so we can eliminate our need for plastic bags and water bottles.


This year we are celebrating the centennial year of the National Park Service. 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.

This year’s projects include –

• Akima’s Way – Leland Creek Trail System [HTA]: Constructing a 160’ boardwalk. Site will accommodate 30 volunteers. Skill rating: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

• Fraser to Granby Trail [HTA]: Replacing 200+ rotting logs near the YMCA entrance. Site manager is requesting 30 volunteers. Skill rating: EASY TO DIFFICULT

• Gilsonite Motorized Trail [USFS]: Building an elevated turnpike and/or boardwalk on a single-track trail. Need 30 hardworking volunteers who like to build things and get dirty! Skill rating: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

• Green Mountain/Continental Divide National Scenic Trails [NPS]: Constructing two or three turnpikes, re-establishing tread and building erosion control structures. Site will accommodate 35+ volunteers. Skill Rating: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

• Upper Colorado River Cleanup [BLM]: Join the BLM in the 7th Annual River Cleanup, clearing trash and debris along a 19-mile-three-section stretch of the Colorado River, beginning at Pumphouse Recreation Area to Two Rivers. All work is accessed by floating the river. Space is available for approximately 50 volunteers who do not have their own boats with pre-registration highly recommended. If you are providing your own boat, then pre-registration is not necessary. Volunteers can meet at Pumphouse Recreation Area instead of the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. Volunteers may choose between a volunteer appreciation BBQ at Pumphouse or the main party at the Camp Chief Ouray Nordic Center at the end of the day. This is a family-friendly work site. Participants are encouraged to bring their own boats, PFDs, and/or paddles. For more information or to pre-register, contact John Monkouski at 970-724-3040. Skill rating: EASY TO MODERATE


Breakfast is provided at registration starting at 7 a.m. at the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center/Camp Chief Ouray on Saturday, September 24. Park your car and leave the driving to us! We’ll shuttle you to the various projects. Your NPLD T-shirt lists all our incredible sponsors and the list covers the entire back of the shirt received by each volunteer!

When your project is done, take your van back to the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch to enjoy complimentary beer and wine, pizza appetizers by DeAntonios and Hernandos and a fabulous lasagna dinner by the Winter Park Resort. Volunteering for the evening party, Red Dirt Hill will present their music for your enjoyment. Everyone who returns for the party 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 YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center/Camp Chief Ouray starting 7 a.m. Saturday, September 24. Call 970-887-4120 or visit for more information, to sign up or to volunteer.

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