A Grand turnout for National Public Lands Day
Ryan Summerlin September 26, 2012
Saturday, Sept. 29, is National Public Lands Day – 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 draws more participants and completes the largest amount of work of any NPLD event in the country. In its 18th year, the Grand County event also conducts the longest continuous-running NPLD event in the U.S.Grand County’s NPLD is succeeds in part because of the many businesses and government entities that take part: Granby Ranch and Winter Park ski areas, local restaurants, BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, Headwater Trails Alliance (HTA), YMCA of the Rockies, the towns (Fraser, Winter Park and Grand Lake), Grand County, Fraser Rec, Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, and the Grand Foundation, to name a few.Each project is geared to certain types of outdoor enthusiasts such as motorized vehicle users, mountain bikers, river rafters, anglers and hikers. Participants don’t have to be extreme-adventurers. There are less physical tasks for those who for one reason or another cannot complete more strenuous jobs.Sign up ahead of time (especially if you plan to do the river clean-up and don’t own a boat) or just show up at 7 a.m. on Sept. 29 in Granby at Camp Chief Ouray/YMCA and sign up for the project of your choice. 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.Seven projects are being completed this year: Baker Gulch Trail This year’s project consists of constructing 100 feet of turnpike on a seasonally wet and muddy section of the Baker Gulch Trail – a popular hiking trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. The project will help to minimize resource damage from heavy trail use and enhance water quality in the drainage. Anyone with a big smile and a good attitude is welcome. Some heavy lifting and pounding re-bar will be required.Gilsonite Bridge & TrailThe Forest Service will lead a project to construct a 34-foot elevated boardwalk and conduct tread work on the Gilsonite singletrack motorized trail near Stillwater Pass, a heavily used motorized area near Grand Lake. Approximately 15 volunteers will be needed for this moderate- to difficult-level project. Some heavy lifting, hammering of big spikes and rebar-sticks and swinging tools will be required. Cutthroat Bay Tree PlantingThe Forest Service is overseeing this year’s planting of 250 3-foot lodgepole pine saplings to replace trees lost to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. This is a perfect project for kids and families, as the work involves shoveling dirt, carrying buckets of soil, and watering. This is a very popular event and it fills up quickly.Tonahutu TrailThe Park Service’s project this year involves water erosion control measures on the Tonahutu Trail in Grand Lake. The project will include construction of log checks and other water drains, small turnpikes to elevate tread in poor drainage locations, and then backfilling heavily worn trail segments with new material. Tonahutu Trail is a portion of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail system. Looking for approximately 30 enthusiastic volunteers. MODERATE TO DIFFICULT, all skill levels welcome.Colorado River CleanupThe BLM is overseeing the 4th Annual NPLD Colorado River Cleanup of trash in and along the Upper Colorado River beginning at the Pumphouse Recreation Area. Space is available for 20 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 instead of YMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch and lunch will be provided for those who select this option and are pre-registered. The level of difficulty on this project is easy to moderate and is family-friendly. There will be an after-event BBQ/Appreciation party for volunteers as an alternative to driving back to YMCA/Granby for the big Appreciation Party.Kinney Creek Stream ProtectionThe Bureau of Land Management will be restoring an unstable section of stream bank along Kinney Creek east of Hot Sulphur Springs. The bank of Kinney Creek needs to be stabilized to prevent further erosion and sedimentation within the creek. Work will include moving rocks and boulders, bank stabilization, scarifying and seeding of disturbed areas and fence construction to protect stabilization work. This project is geared for all ages and is family-friendly. Approximately 15 volunteers will be needed for this easy to moderate level project.Creating A New Hiking/Biking Trail in Winter ParkHeadwaters Trails Alliance is constructing a new hike/bike trail near the Town of Winter Park that will link into D3 (an existing bike trail). This non-motorized trail will be built with some fun features and a sustainable design. Expect a project that is moderate in difficulty. HTA is looking for about 15 volunteers but could always use more.DinnerAt the end of the day, all of the volunteers meet back at Camp Chief Ouray for a pizza and lasagna dinner complete with dessert and live music. Your raffle ticket 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.