The summer stewardship season is well underway, and crews have already completed almost 35 miles of trail maintenance and new construction work across Colorado. Members have put in over 1,200 hours of work across the state resulting in a high quantity and quality of work. Perhaps this is most obvious when examining the metric of the sheer number of downed trees crew members have removed this season: 588 trees removed, and 8,325 ft of trail corridor cleared.
During June and July alone, crews removed 436 downed trees on the Parks Ranger District. A hefty portion of these logged out trees were on the Continental Divide Trail in the Never Summer Wilderness, meaning crew members removed these trees using only a crosscut saw. Adding to the challenge of clearing trail, our crews had to work to restore the original tread and close off the paths people had begun to form by walking off the trail to get around trees. Said one crew member: “The wilderness portion of the trail had many lost and disconnected sections and social trails veering off. We worked to clear and restore the original trail. There was a large section of trail missing…It is a wide-open field and a stream crossing that has no visible trail or signage for at least a 1/2 mile. We placed small cairns where each side ended.”
But they are just getting started. Using CMC’s RIMS mobile app, crews were able to collect data and assess portions of the trail they are planning to revisit later this season. They completed and in-depth trail inventory detailing hazard trees, necessary trail signage, and a total downed tree count. They are anticipating at least 163 more downed trees when they revisit this section. This work is crucial to reduce public safety hazards posed by downed trees and obscured trails. Portions of the trails they are working on are adjacent to or in areas closed by the Forest Service due to the Cameron Peak Fire. The work of CMC crews to clear and inventory trail conditions in this area will help the Forest Service complete resource assessments and recovery efforts. Their effort helps to ensure both the human safety and natural resource protection necessary to open the area to public access.
If you or someone you know would like to join our team to help out with this work this fall, you can learn more and apply to become a Trail Stewardship Leader. Learn more about the Colorado Mountain Club’s Stewardship program here.