Bean: Volunteer thanks
November 11, 2016
Even after daylight savings time, the sun seems to shine high in the sky. Though the days are getting shorter we are still greeted with temperatures warm enough to enjoy the dry trails. Headwaters Trails Alliance and their volunteers have been able to take advantage of this unseasonably warm weather by completing some last minute trail improvement projects. As you are out enjoying the trails, you may notice some improvements such as the realignment of some switchbacks on Twisted Ankle. We have also recently constructed a new turnpike on Blue Sky Trail in Winter Park, which will keep this section of trail out of the mud in the springtime. You may notice many trees are being cleared due to some of our recent high winds. I want to give a huge shout out to our known, as well as our anonymous volunteers who continuously help us with clearing trees off trails from our blowdowns. We would not be able to keep up on this task without you! Remember to stay cautious while out enjoying the trails, as these trees are still coming down every day. Please continue to report down trees on the trails or any other hazardous condition to Headwaters Trails Alliance, or to the USFS Sulphur Ranger District so they can be mitigated as soon as possible.
Another trail project that has been recently completed is the River Ridge trail in Fraser. This newly constructed trail is a picturesque pedestrian trail connecting the Fraser River Trial to the top of CR 804 by Meadowridge subdivision.
I would like to thank Melinda McWilliams for completing over 400 hours in trail construction for this trail. Melinda has dedicated two of her summers with many long hours in the field for this trail, and the result is beautiful! Thanks for your hard work! This trail will be enjoyed by many for years to come!
This summer season has been a great season of plentiful volunteer involvement! With the help of Headwaters Trails Alliance volunteers, we have accomplished over 1,000 man hours on the trails throughout the county and have maintained over 500 miles of trails this summer! This is proof that we could not manage our 1,000 miles of trails in Grand County without the help of the many willing volunteers of the valley. It is truly inspiring to work with such dedicated volunteers, some that spend 2 or more days a week with a helping hand.
Amongst these volunteers is one who as recently dedicated over two weeks of their time this fall to clean up trash along the dispersed camping areas along Vasquez Road in Winter Park. This admirable individual was surprised in the amount of trash and recycling that was found. I have been lucky to work with this person on several trail projects for the last three summers through her different volunteer efforts. Through all of these trail projects they always have a smile on their face and are always willing to give a helping hand. In the past, this area has been known to have an abundance of trash including food trash, which in turn attracts the bears in the fall to the area. This volunteers cleaning efforts has resulted in a huge improvement to bear activity in the area.
In the fall, American Black Bear activity in and close to town is more apparent. Black bear can consume up to 20,000 calories a day to build up fat to store it for their winter hibernation stage. These bears are smart and go practically any place they can to find food to gain calories for their winter survival. This time of year is crucial to keep bear locks on dumpsters in town, to leave trash cans indoors at night, to keep cars food free and most importantly to keep clean camping areas.
Not only can the bears be a 'nuisance' to humans when they come close to human habitants looking for food, but it is also harmful to the bears to eat human food. Bears and other wildlife can become ill or diseased by human food consumption. Feeding wildlife can be troublesome for both parties, as the wildlife can become dependent on humans for food. This in turn makes it more difficult for them to fend for themselves and they can be a potential threat to humans. . It can be potentially fatal for the bears and other wildlife to have these close contacts to humans. When wildlife come to humans for food, they can become a 'nuisance animal' which can have the result of the animal being transported to a new home or even to be put down.
I would like to greatly thank this volunteer for taking it upon themselves to help clean up the forest. This volunteer is an inspiration to keep wildlife and humans safe and healthy as well as to keep our public lands trash free!
A huge thank you to all of our long term hard working volunteers that have as well as our new ones. We have volunteers that have dedicated anywhere from one to several hundred hours for the betterment of trails and our beautiful outdoor environment. Every volunteer moment makes a difference. It is a pleasure to work with each and every one of you, and it truly makes a difference in the County. We are lucky to live in an environment where the forest is in our back yard, and even luckier to live within a community who appreciates it and has so many individuals that want to give back to the land.