Give Back to the Trails and Rivers You Love |

Give Back to the Trails and Rivers You Love

Courtesy photoGrand County's National Public Lands Day, Sept. 24, offers and opportunity to give back to the places where we play.

National Public Lands Day, Sept. 24, is a coast-to-coast, one-day event that brings more than 100,000 Americans together to collect trash, pull weeds, plant trees, construct trails and build bridges over wetlands.

Grand County’s National Public Lands Day is in a class by itself. It is not only the largest NPLD event in Colorado, Grand County’s event draws more participants and results in the largest amount of work completed of any NPLD event in the country. In its 17th year, it is the longest continuous running NPLD event in the country.

Grand County’s NPLD is so successful each year because of the many businesses and government entities that take part: SolVista and Winter Park ski areas, local restaurants, BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Headwater Trails Alliance (HTA), Arapaho Roosevelt Pawnee Foundation, YMCA of the Rockies, the towns of Granby, Fraser, Winter Park and Grand Lake, Grand County and Channel 17 TV.

Each project is geared to certain types of outdoor enthusiasts, including motorized vehicle users, mountain bikers, anglers and hikers. You don’t have to be a super athlete/adventurer type to take part in NPLD. There are easier jobs for older folks and kids or for those who are not in shape. Help stuff goody bags, pick up food donations, work registration or help with meals and the volunteer appreciation party.

Sign up ahead of time or just show up at 7 a.m. on Sept. 24 at YMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch’s Nordic Center in Granby and sign up for the project of your choice on the morning of the event. Buses leave at 7:45 a.m., so set your alarm clock to be there in time to eat a relaxed breakfast and assemble a hearty lunch for the trail. Enjoy a couple cups of coffee while meeting new people and connecting with old friends.

Then board the bus or van of your chosen project for an autumn day in the wilderness working alongside other outdoor lovers building new trails, maintaining trails that need erosion upkeep, constructing buck-n-rail fencing to protect fragile ecosystems, collecting garbage along the Colorado River or planting trees to replace lodgepole pines that have succumbed to pine beetle infestation.

The projects offered for NPLD 2011 include: erosion-control work on the Flume Trail in Fraser, sponsored by HTA; planting 200, two-foot-tall lodgepole pine saplings at Stillwater Campground in Grand Lake, sponsored by the U.S. Forest service; a Colorado River trash pickup or trail work on Hurd Peak in Tabernash, sponsored by BLM; trail work on the motorized Blizzard Pass Trail in Grand Lake, sponsored by the Forest Service; and trail work on Rocky Mountain National Park’s Bowen Gulch Connector Trail, part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, sponsored by the National Park Service.

At the end of the day, all of the volunteers meet back at Camp Chief Ouray for pizza and a delicious lasagna dinner complete with dessert and live music. Save your raffle ticket, because you could win incredible prizes like rounds of golf, ski tickets and outdoor gear. Everyone who contributes to the success of Grand County’s NPLD gets a raffle ticket For more information, stop by the U.S. Forest Service office in Granby or call 970-887-4120.

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