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Paintball park brings thrills to Fraser Valley

Members of the Grand County Wildcats soccer team take aim Saturday at Fraser Valley Paintball, the newest amenity at the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District. The paintball park opened at the end of August.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

After their soccer game Saturday, the Grand County Wildcats suited up for a very different type of game.

The 12- and 13-year-old girls — along with some family and friends — strapped on black facemasks and grabbed a paintball gun before heading out into position on opposite sides of the small dirt field. Igor Guziur made sure both teams were ready before he shouted, “Ready? Set? Go!”

Guziur, owner and operator of the newly opened Fraser Valley Paintball, ducked out of the way and behind the screen surrounding the field as the whizzing of paintballs began flying through the air.

The Wildcats scouted out the terrain moguls, trying to get closer to the other team without getting hit themselves. One girl rested on her stomach, the tip of her paintball gun just over the berm as she waited for a target to appear.

A paintballer gains position on Saturday as part of a game at Fraser Valley Paintball.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

A dramatic “pop, pop, pop” had her diving down as she felt the paintballs brush the top of her head. Unscathed, she moved slowly back into position, eyes wildly scanning the field and finger curled around the trigger.

The exciting scene is a new one at the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District sports field and ice rink. Fraser Valley Paintball opened at the end of August, and this was only Guziur’s seventh game.

Guziur is also the owner and operator of the Winter Park Adventure Quest ropes course, also at the Fraser field. He said his own kids were his inspiration to open the new paintball park after they asked to go paintballing in Denver.

Igor Guziur, owner and operator of the new Fraser Valley Paintball, gets ready to start another round of paintball on Saturday in Fraser.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

“I saw this field out here unused, so I was thinking, ‘What would it take to buy a few guns and do the thing?’” he recalled. “Why not bring one here?”

The land is next to the BMX track and offers 17,000 square feet for paintball. Up to 12 players can play at a time.

“It’s a fun location because it’s not a giant field and it provides natural cover,” Guziur said. “This allows for a very active game offering lots of action.”

The girls soccer team exited the field with yellow paint in their hair or on their jackets. All agreed that the experience had been awesome.

A paintballer takes a shot toward the opposing team Saturday on the Fraser fields.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

The cost to use the park is a flat $500 that covers two hours of play, including guns, paintballs and protective masks. Guziur said the Fraser Valley Rec District worked cooperatively with him to allow the new amenity, and he got help from Patrick Brower of the Grand Enterprise Initiative to prepare the park.

Guziur isn’t sure if he’ll be able to operate once temperatures drop, but he’s still accepting reservations for play through the fall. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Winter Park Adventure Quest at 970-531-4143.

Crews fighting structure fire in Rocky Mountain National Park

Firefighters are responding to a structure fire on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

At approximately 3 p.m. Saturday, a fire was reported at the Glacier Creek Stables near Bear Lake Road, according to park officials. The fire is currently limited to one structure in the Glacier Creek Stables area.

Officials said that fire units are on scene working the structure. Bear Lake Road is currently closed for inbound traffic due to emergency vehicle traffic.

This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.

Grand Enterprise Initiative: Follow the money when it comes to mask, vaccine mandates

When it comes to mask and vaccination mandates, follow the money.

It’s way too easy to blame these impositions on our lives as meddlesome government intrusions and myth-based molly-coddling. It’s too easy to go all bleeding heart and blame these intrusions on do-gooding public health workers who have an outsized worry about protecting health and lives.

Yet in the end, when it’s all pared down to the basics, it’s all about business, public “business” and money. I suppose I could say it’s all about the economy.

What I write in this space every other week is a business column. And when it comes to business these days in Grand County, the United States and the world, COVID plays a very big role, unfortunately. And to put it bluntly, COVID outbreaks, COVID surges, COVID deaths and COVID illness for individuals are very bad for business (unless you are in the vaccine-making or mortuary sectors).

For people who insist that mandating masks in schools or certain public spaces (I see this surging, if you will) is a violation of personal liberty and our right to the pursuit of happiness (I suppose), consider that major corporations all across the United States were mandating masks for employees and customers long before any governmental intrusion. They did this because it was better for business.

The same applies for vaccine mandates. Before our government decided to try some limited vaccine mandates major corporations and employers across the U.S. were already strongly encouraging (if not outright requiring) vaccines for their employees. Why? Because it’s good for business.

And what’s good for business is good for America. All self-identified Patriots out there might want to keep that in mind.

The usually right-leaning personal liberty zealots (there are libertarian-type left leaners in this category too) who complain the most about mask and vaccine mandates are almost always proponents of good and strong business practices and freedom in the realm of business. I’m sure they would identify with the notion that government intrusion hurts business in general and they’d extoll the virtues of a free and open market place.

And yet, business interests are speaking out on their own in favor of these mandates, even enforcing their own mandates. Why? Because, in the long run, they are good for business. They don’t want to be back where our nation was one and a half years ago when business was shut down and halted. They want to do all they can to prevent that.

I think it’s fair to say we are having a COVID outbreak in our schools (five or more cases in a related building or activity) and I know our schools do not want to send students home for on-line learning in mass again. Why? It’s bad for business because mothers (and fathers) will have to be at home watching those kids while they learn on-line.

One big reason for the lack of employees in this county during COVID was just that. People couldn’t work while their kids were at home. Like I said, that’s bad for business.

Or, even more important, schools get their money from the state based on attendance. When scores of kids or all the kids aren’t in school student counts drop and state funding does too. Like I said, that’s bad for public business.

Common sense and proven public health measures, like masks and vaccines, have been tainted by an absurd ideological bias that is based on knee jerk reactionary impulses fueled by lies and propaganda that usually originate on-line.

Slowly but surely the business community is starting to realize that this knee-jerk ideological bias is, simply, bad for business.

Patrick Brower, Grand Enterprise Initiative

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at patrickbrower@kapoks.org.

Letter: Peak Health, providers working to lower cost of insurance

Thank you to all medical and mental health care providers in Grand County who have worked to lower our health insurance premiums.

As a member of the Grand County Peak Health Alliance Steering Committee, I wanted to take the time to thank all of the medical centers, medical doctors, and mental health care providers in the county that have worked in collaboration with Peak Health Alliance to lower health insurance premiums in our county. Without the full participation of all providers, we would not have been able to lower premiums by over 30% for 2021.

As a core belief, Peak Health Alliance works to leverage the power of residents of local communities through working with all local providers to lower insurance premiums. Thanks to all of our providers participating in the program, Grand County saw the greatest rate reduction of health insurance premiums in the state. The commitment of our providers across the county to help ensure patients have health insurance to meet their needs has been incredible to witness and we should all be thankful for their continued commitment to making Grand County as healthy as possible.

The next time you see your doctor or mental health provider, no matter what practice they are with, I encourage you to thank them for caring enough about the health of our county to participate with Peak Health Alliance.

— Jessica Klabak, Peak Health Alliance Steering Committee Chair

West Grand’s Allie Daly defies odds in return to volleyball court

West Grand junior Allie Daly prepares for the serve as the Mustangs face Summit on Aug. 20, 2021, during the their first game of the season.
Eli Pace / epace@skyhinews.com

Editor’s note: This story is republished with permission from CHSAANow.com.

Doctors told her there was a slim chance she’d ever be able to play sports again.

Guess where West Grand junior girls volleyball and basketball player Allie Daly is today? Before getting to that answer, let’s first go back to April 13, 2021.

West Grand girls volleyball versus Middle Park. A huge rivalry game. Daly and her Mustang teammates are fired up and ready to go. Daly, however, has been dealing with an ongoing health issue that she first started to notice during basketball season back in January.

She is often fatigued, getting lightheaded and feeling like she may pass out. At first Daly chalks it up to her overall conditioning after a long winter usually spent in some sort of quarantine. Then volleyball season starts, and Daly is in improved shape. But her symptoms persist to the point that she can’t even talk during matches and she is so tired that she must be subbed out.

West Grand’s Allie Daly sets the ball early in the match against Middle Park on April 13, 2021, in Kremmling.
Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News

The symptoms remained firmly in place leading into the Middle Park match. After the first set, Daly feels okay. By set two, she is feeling a little more tired. Then comes set three. Daly feels really sick, has some bad chest pain and a headache, and is having trouble keeping her balance.

After a long rally in the third set, in which Daly had a hard dive to the floor for a ball, she went back to serve.

“I remember going back to serve, and I don’t remember much after that,” Daly said. “I blacked out a little bit.”

What Daly remembers after that mostly stems from watching the tape of the match after the fact. She wasn’t responding to her teammates around her. She tried to talk to the coaches, but nothing was coming out. As she was going back to serve, the up ref and her teammates noticed something was not right. She was helped to the ground by teammates Alex Schake and Morgan Nelson.

“They thought it might have had something to do with my blood sugar,” Daly recalled.

“So Morgan tilted my head back and dumped orange juice down my throat! I almost drowned on OJ,” she said, laughing.

From there her mother, Angie, and sister, Emma, assisted her in getting off the court, where she continued to be evaluated by athletic trainers and EMTs. They noticed that her heart rate was well above average, even for just having come out of a game, so she was taken into the Middle Park ER.

At first, personnel at the hospital believe it’s probably just a hydration issue, and she’s hooked up to an IV. In what could be viewed as a lifesaving moment, though, the doctor on call that night took an electrocardiogram (EKG) and noticed something was off. So, Daly’s tense night continued.

She was sent to Aurora Children’s Hospital, which, coming in the mountains, is a bit of a hike. According to Daly, they made it in a “record time” of an hour and 20 minutes. Once settled in there, doctors continued to poke and prod Daly, taking more EKGs, doing blood work, and taking an Echocardiogram. By the time they are done, it was 3 a.m.

The next day, the results came in.

“That day, they were very nice, bringing in the therapy dog and all that,” Daly said.

The doctor told her she had a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, shortened to HCM. It is a rare condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

HCM is only found in an estimated 1 in every 200,000 children, and most of the time not until that child has tragically passed away after overexertion. So, it was not lost on Daly just how incredibly lucky she was.

Even with that in mind, when Daly was presented with her options to help treat her condition, she chose the one that gave her the best chance to play sports again. An Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD), which is a surgically implanted device that will shock the heart back into rhythm.

Despite choosing that option, doctors told her it still was unlikely she’d ever step foot on the hardwood again.

“After hearing that, I was very upset because I’ve been playing basketball since first grade and volleyball since fifth,” Daly said. “Sports has been my life, so I told the doctor, ‘Well, that’s not going to work for me.’”

West Grand’s Allie Daly drives the hoop in a girls basketball game vs. Soroco on Feb. 9, 2020.
Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News

The doctors said she had around two and a half months before her next checkup to see if everything was progressing and healing correctly. After a week-long stay in the hospital post-surgery, Daly started to return to her normal schedule. She was doing schoolwork, watching her volleyball team as they continued to push for playoffs, and even went to prom.

But then, she got an infection. With her condition the way it was, that could very well have led to heart complications, and even a heart transplant. So, it was back to familiar territory: a hospital bed.

Daly was put on antibiotics and monitored for three more days before she was in the clear. When she was given the okay to be discharged again, Daly went right back to one of her happy places, supporting her teammates as they started regional tournament play.

“I wanted to show the team I’d cheer them on and support them through anything,” Daly said.

When it came time for that first checkup in June, she was hit with tough news. The doctor was not comfortable clearing her for activity yet. However, she was told to try again in July and in the meantime, drink double the amount of water because that was going to make her heart beat easier.

Daly proceeded to “drink more water than I ever thought I would” and, with the support and encouragement of her coaches, teammates, community, and family, continued to nurse herself back to full health.

Then came that July checkup.

“I went back for that July checkup, and I was a little worried,” Daly explained. “But I looked at her and told her ‘I want to play. I will do anything I can just to play’ and this time she said okay. She told me I had to continue to hydrate, eat well, and be honest with my coaches.”

“The whole being honest about being hurt was a little new for me, because I always just want to push through the pain,” Daly continued. “But I said ‘Okay. If you let me play, I’ll do this.’”

That leads to Aug. 20, 2021, the West Grand volleyball season-opener against Summit — 130 days after that fateful day in April.

“I was really nervous, but also really excited,” Daly said. “Then five minutes before game time I almost stated crying because I was so nervous. A great thing my teammates did was gather around me and held my hand and told me I was going to do well. Then I looked up and saw my parents in the stands and right then I knew I could do it.

“And as soon as we scored that first point, I knew it. I knew I was back.“

The West Grand volleyball team stands for the national anthem before facing Summit on Aug. 20, 2021, in Kremmling. Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News
West Grand junior Allie Daly sets the ball during the match against Summit on Aug. 20, 2021, in Kremmling. The Mustangs won the game in three sets.
Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News
Allie Daly’s older sister, Emma, reacts after the Mustangs scored a point on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 vs. Peyton during the West Grand volleyball tournament. The Mustangs won the match and the two-day tournament.
Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News

Helicopter mulching to begin next week on parts of burn scar

Emergency Watershed Protection Program partners for the East Troublesome Fire will begin another round of aerial helicopter mulching operations starting next week.

Northern Water will coordinate mulching on 2,200 acres of U.S. Forest Service property in the burn area to mitigate wildfire effects of sedimentation and debris flows and risk to downstream life and property, according to a release.

Work will start Monday on targeted, high-risk areas on the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest in the Supply Creek Watershed, tributary to the North Fork of the Colorado River, to stabilize hill slopes and protect private structures, roadways and water infrastructure located downstream.

A similar effort occurred in July on about 2,300 acres of private property in severely affected watersheds surrounding Willow Creek Reservoir and areas within Trail Creek drainages.

The release said this work at upstream locations adds a layer of protection to existing projects on private land, including sediment and debris management, flood protection and pre-existing debris removal that are currently undergoing design and construction using the emergency watershed protection funds.

This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which Northern Water and Grand County are co-sponsoring for the East Troublesome Fire recovery area.

Funding for this aerial mulching will be paid at 75% through the EWP Program and 25% by Northern Water. However, a grant from Colorado Water Conservation Board will be utilized to offset Northern Water’s local match requirement, the release said.

Local residents and visitors can expect truck traffic and helicopter activity in the area for approximately three weeks. For more information, visit the Grand County Watershed Recovery website at www.GCWatershedRecovery.com.

Fraser Valley leaders team up on mental health as towns signal go-ahead for new code enforcement officer

Housing topped the list for a joint session of the Fraser and Winter Park trustees, but those weren’t the only issues where the two towns are looking to build closer ties.

On Thursday, Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos led a discussion on mental health with the two town boards. A portion of Winter Park’s marijuana sales tax is now going toward mental health initiatives, and the town is looking for additional money to fund more resources in the Fraser Valley.

“I know that it’s not necessarily always the municipality’s responsibility to look at programs at the county level, but I think that there’s a gap,” Kutrumbos said. “I think that the accessibility on this side of the county just isn’t there.”

He added that there has been some preliminary discussion with the Grand Foundation about building a fund like the Winter Park Housing Assistance Fund, but for mental health programs.

Both boards talked about what they might want out of mental health resources in the area. Along with bringing more mental health assets to the eastern side of the county, they want to raise awareness and reduce stigma. There were also talks about better addressing addiction treatment.

Following their discussions, the boards agreed they’d like to hear more about a possible fund with Grand Foundation along with other types of revenue that could be generated for mental health programs.

A third topic for the towns on Thursday involved a pitch from Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor about adding a code enforcement officer to the towns’ joint police department.

Trainor explained that the department has seen a rise in calls, just like many public safety entities in Grand County. He said that adding a code enforcement officer could help address some of the noncriminal complaints that often leave his officers strapped for time.

The code enforcement officer would focus on problems like parking, abandoned vehicles, and junk and wildlife issues — namely bears and trash. The officer would be under the command of a police department supervisor.

Trainor emphasized that a code enforcement officer would be instructed to take a problem-solving approach to these issues and concentrate on relationships. Summons would only be used as a last resort in code enforcement, according to Trainor.

He estimated startup costs at $126,000-$134,000 to cover the new position and a vehicle. Annually thereafter the burden would fall to $81,000-$89,000 for the full-time position, along with operating costs.

The chief added that he’d like to hire someone from the community for the position.

With no opposition from the boards, Trainor said he would include the code enforcement officer in his 2022 budget proposal, which will need to be approved by both town boards before the position can become official.

Saying collaboration is key, officials in Winter Park, Fraser set stage to join forces on workforce housing

Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos introduces the Hideaway Junction Phase 2 project, a plan to build 10 new workforce homes, on June 29, as he talks about the need for more affordable housing.
McKenna Harford/Sky-Hi News

Fraser and Winter Park are contemplating a regional housing authority and could bring a ballot question to voters as soon as next year.

At a joint work session on Thursday, workforce housing was the main topic for the town boards. Specifically, staff from both towns asked elected leaders if they should pursue a multi-jurisdictional housing authority, that would cover the same boundaries as the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District.

In the timeline presented, the boards would sign a memorandum of understanding next month showing a partnership on affordable housing and adopting a strategic plan.

The long-term goal would be to establish a regional housing authority separate from the towns. However, the memorandum would also outline some short-term solutions, such as making town codes friendlier to affordable housing projects and ways for the towns to work together.

“Everybody in this room has to be 100% behind every local housing project that’s being built,” Fraser Trustee Parnell Quinn said.

Furthermore, the memorandum would lay out a plan to reassess housing needs for the entire Fraser Valley. Winter Park’s most recent housing study was done in 2015, while Fraser’s was conducted in 2016.

“I know nobody’s excited about additional studies that don’t necessarily get on the ground and start solving the problem,” Winter Park Assistant Manager Alisha Janes said. “But I think instead of just thinking about it as just taking an additional housing study, thinking about it as a first approach in the collaboration and seeing it as a first step to make this future endeavor successful.”

According to the timeline, the study would be completed in November, and the boards could move to create a multi-jurisdictional housing authority by January. Then work would be directed toward a ballot initiative for November 2022 to secure a sustainable funding source.

At the beginning, Fraser and Winter Park would commit $75,000 each to a seed fund that would ideally cover the housing needs study, the creation of the authority and the costs associated with a ballot initiative. There would also be staff dedicated to form a working group on this project.

By combining forces, the towns would likely find greater success getting competitive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and, through a pooling of resources, be able to pursue larger development projects.

The Winter Park town board highlighted the conversations its members had with representatives of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, which has built a number of affordable housing projects in Steamboat Springs and surrounding areas. Since voters passed a mil levy for affordable housing in 2017, the authority has built nearly 300 units of affordable, attainable housing in Steamboat.

Staff highlighted the fact that, in addition to more funding opportunities, creating a separate entity for housing would help remove the burden on the town boards and staffs.

“We’ve had some conversations in our board of ‘How did we get into the housing business?’” Winter Park Mayor Pro Tem Mike Periolat said. “I thought we were doing safety and streets and all those things. Now we’re in housing, trying to sell those housing projects. That’s great. We gotta step up and do it, but it really would be nice to have this entity that we support instead.”

If all goes according to plan and voters pass the potential 2022 ballot initiative, the Fraser Valley regional housing authority would still not see a stream of revenue until 2023 at the earliest.

“We’re looking at a two to three year period maybe before a potential countywide or rec district project comes to fruition,” Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos said, adding that if affordable housing opportunities come up before then, the towns should still push for them.

“We need to do stuff now,” he said.

Grand County Manager Ed Moyer, Granby Mayor Josh Hardy and Granby Town Manager Ted Cherry also attended the joint meeting.

Moyer said that could not speak for county commissioners, but he suggested the scope of a multi-jurisdictional housing authority could be expanded to include other jurisdictions in Grand County as well.

“We’ve been discussing with a law firm about cost estimates for what that scope of work would look like for putting together a multi-jurisdictional housing authority including more than just the two towns,” Moyer said. “We have the initial draft of that now, but again I think there’s more discussion to happen.”

The Fraser and Winter Park representatives agreed that this long-term plan wouldn’t fix the housing crisis in the valley, adding that housing is still a problem in Steamboat even with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. They said other factors impacting housing would still need to be addressed.

The town boards gave direction to their staff to continue work on the memorandum of understanding and multi-jurisdictional housing authority. No decisions were made, but the memorandum could come to boards for approval as soon as October.

Grand County Trails: National Public Lands Day needs your help

When planning for National Public Lands Day, the agencies try to make sure they have projects for every skill level and interest.
Diana Lynn Rau / courtesy photo

“Unity is strength … when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

This quote by Mattie Stephanek was used in 2015 by Headwaters Trails Alliance to describe how National Public Lands Day works.

This annual event where hundreds of people get together, work hard, have fun, and achieve so much for public lands epitomizes the meaning of her words. This is your chance to give back to the trails you love by getting together and working hard, whether it is in the field manning a shovel or helping with the picnic in Polhamus Park. The event allows participants to have fun with like-minded people, comparing stories and solving world problems, while achieving more together in one day than the US Forest Service could accomplish in three years.

Join us Sept. 25 at one of the individual project sites described below. Some COVID precautions are in place, such as encouraging social distancing, masking up when appropriate, and other “common sense” precautions we’re all used to by now.

The colors should be fantastic. We hope for a beautiful autumn day in the wilderness but, as always, be prepared for anything.

The mission of National Public Lands Day is to promote volunteer awareness in:

• protecting and sustaining public lands through an annual event of trail education;

• maintenance and construction, thereby building advocacy and ownership for our public lands, and strengthening cooperation and communication among public agencies, communities and businesses. This is Grand County’s 27th annual event, the longest running in the nation.

Grand County‘s NPLD is a huge success because of its dedicated volunteers as well as the many businesses and government entities that participate and the variety of projects offered.

Volunteers come from as far away as Boston and many come back year after year. Each project is geared toward certain types of outdoor enthusiasts such as motorized vehicle users, mountain bikers, river rafters, anglers, hikers and equestrians.

Projects for this year include:

Upper Colorado River Cleanup (BLM) — Join the BLM in the 12th annual River Cleanup, clearing trash and debris along a 19-mile stretch of the Colorado River in three sections, 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 preregistration highly recommended. If you are providing your own boat, then preregistration is not necessary. Volunteers can meet at Pumphouse Recreation Area. This is a family-friendly work site.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own boats, PFDs, and/or paddles. For more information or to preregister, contact John Monkouski at 970-724-3040. Skill rating: east to moderate.

• Strawberry/Phases Trail System (BLM/HTA): Several projects are available at this site depending upon skill and physicality. Projects will involve rerouting Phase .25 to a more sustainable grade and working with trail construction tools; the installation of cable around a new parking lot; and the installation of a new kiosk and signage at parking lots. Additional work to be done includes trail brushing, outsloping/insloping drainage, lopping, and clearing. Skill Rating: easy to difficult.

• Lower Creekside Trail (USFS/HTA): Project will be constructing turnpikes on the Lower Creekside Trail in Fraser. Work may consist of hammering, shoveling, brushing, lopping, clearing, digging, wheelbarrowing. Skill Rating: easy to moderate.

• Turkey Spur/Tonahutu Trail (RMNP – NPS): Fire recovery in the national park on the Turkey Spur/Tonahutu Trails. Work will include tread work and the construction of a log causeway in an area affected by the East Troublesome Fire. Additional project may include construction of a buck & rail fence. Skill rating: moderate to difficult.

• Stewardship Ambassador Training & CPW Trail Work: This day starts at the HTA Office in Fraser for a Stewardship Ambassador Program Training and will end in the field working on social trail decommissioning on a wildlife conservation easement in Granby. Skills needed include minor trail tool work. Skill rating: easy.

Due to Covid precautions, this year’s event is again smaller than in the past. Each project is capped at between seven and 15 participants, except for the BLM River Cleanup, which can take many more volunteers based on the availability of watercraft. Everyone must register to participate at http://bit.ly/npldgc2021.

It takes a lot of helpers to make an operation like this a success. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate in NPLD. There are less physical jobs out in the field — you just have to ask — or choose to participate in the very successful Stewardship Training.

All volunteers should come prepared to work, with appropriate clothing: long pants, long sleeves, boots, hat, sunglasses, gloves. They should also be prepared for any type of weather; as we know up here, mountain weather is a fickle beast.

At 4:30 p.m. there will be Public Lands Picnic in the Park, a family-friendly community gathering in Polhamus Park in Granby, to celebrate our public lands and the agencies and volunteers who make them safe and enjoyable for everyone. The event will go to 8:30 p.m., so pack a basket and come relax with your neighbors in a comfortable outdoor setting.

Two local bands will be playing — River Wilder and The Moffat Tunnel Band. Drinks will be provided by R&J Liquors in Granby. Various nonprofits and other organizations will have tables to educate and engage. There will also be a raffle of sporting goods and other items from local and Colorado-based companies.

For more information, contact Sean Burke, field program manger at Headwaters Trails Alliance, at 970-726-1013 or sean@headwaterstrails.org, or contact Jeremy Krones, executive director at Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, at 970-887-1177 or jeremy@coloradoheadwaterslandtrust.org.

Also, members of the GC-NPLD steering committee will be on a public Zoom conversation at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 to talk about the 2021 event and what public lands mean to us. This informative talk will be hosted by CHLT: https://bit.ly/chltzoom0923.

A volunteer clears debris from East Shore Trail during the 2019 Public Lands Day in Grand County. Work on the trail helped prepare it for bike use.
Amy Golden / Sky-Hi News.
Volunteers can work on a variety of projects every year for Public Lands Day, like this work on the East Shore Trail in 2019.
Amy Golden / Sky-Hi News


Spreadsheet classes available at Granby Library

Grand County Higher Education is offering two spreadsheet classes this month.

Both will be held at the Granby Library and cost $30. Spreadsheet 101 is scheduled for 9-11:30 a.m. Sept. 30 and Spreadsheet Intermediate is 1:30-4 p.m. Sept. 30.

Beginner often use the software to organize events, contacts and more. No previous experience is require, but if the goal is to become more proficient for business GCHE recommends attending both sessions.

For more information and to register, go to www.grandcountyhighered.org.