Rau: Prepping for National Public Lands Day

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Diana Lynn Rau

Put it on your calendar now! National Public Lands Day (NPLD) this year is scheduled for Saturday, September 24. The projects to be worked on go right to the heart of trails for hikers, bikers, Nordic skiers, snowmobilers and boaters alike. NPLD is a nation-wide 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. Federal budgets have been hacked away even in the face of ever-increasing record usage of public lands. Rocky Mountain National Park is now the third most visited park in the United States yet has about one-third the staff of Yosemite or Yellowstone. 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.

National Public Lands Day was created to help parks users be able to give back to our public lands by helping staff improve trails or facilities under direction of the parks personnel. The staff each year determines areas that need assistance and work all spring and summer long at prepping those tasks to make that single day of volunteers able to produce the most changes and complete the most tasks. The volunteers ARE the projects and we need everyone possible to show up and help out.

One Headwaters Trails Alliance project on a popular stretch of the Fraser to Granby Trail is to replace the logs lining the YMCA meadow portion of the trail. These keep the actively growing wet meadow from growing over the corridor trail and keep people on the trail from venturing out into the sensitive habitat. Prep work is extremely important since the old rotted decaying logs need to be removed, rebar sticks cut into lengths, new 8-10 inch diameter logs might need to be peeled, these same new 10-12 foot logs need to be drilled so they can be stabilized by rebar. Then the volunteers will be able to actually place and rebar in the replacement logs on NPLD August 24.

The YMCA summer trails staff led by Bill Pierce has been busy doing trail maintenance and developing new areas on their property. In the same time, they have been stockpiling suitable logs 8-10 inches in diameter and 8-10 12-foot in length for this project in their front meadow. If you have a pile of fairly recently cut, straight standing dead that fits this description and want to donate logs to this project, please call Diana Lynn Rau 970-887-0547.

We are scheduling two weekends of prep work September 10-11 and September 17-18 and will come pick up your logs. If you have leftover rebar, we need that too. We also need several volunteers to help remove logs and pull existing rebar as well as cut rebar into appropriate lengths and drill logs. That prep work will make it possible for volunteers to complete laying and fastening replacement logs in the meadow.

Even if you have only a couple hours one of those weekends, consider helping out.

This whole Fraser to Granby Trail which is now so heavily used was created by volunteers over the last 15 years.

Hats off to HTA for continuing to maintain and develop this corridor trail connecting towns and recreation areas in Grand County. It has become an integral part of the recreation and economy of Grand County.

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