Grand County Trails: Community buy-in is what keeps trail groups energized
Ryan Summerlin June 26, 2014
Trails have become a priority in the Fraser Valley — trails for hiking, biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and more. Trails are now considered a very positive amenity to housing developments and neighborhoods. And they are the locals’ way of life.
More than 15 years ago, concerned citizens in the Fraser Valley banded together to help protect these local trails that were starting to disappear because of land sales that did not have the trails on their plats. Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails was born to help protect these existing trails, help create connectors, and be a watchdog over new developments being presented in the Fraser Valley to make sure that both existing trails and new proposed trails were in keeping with the overall trail plan. They also consider education, signage, assisting to provide materials to help repair trails as a part of their mission. To contact the organization, Fraser Valley Partnership For Trails email is trails@FVPT.org, Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails on Facebook, and now it’s own webpage – FVPTrails.org.
FVPT has board members from hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, Nordic skiing, motorized sports like dirt bikers and snowmobiling, and more to get a full representation of trail users as well as advisors from BLM and USFS. This all volunteer group meets one evening a month at the Headwaters Trails Alliance office in Fraser to get updates from BLM, USFS, HTA, GIMBA, and the towns or county and work on policy and projects.
Current issues have been helping coordinate maintenance of trails with the government organizations as well as the Adopt-a-Trail program currently under Headwaters Trails Alliance, trail development like resurrecting the Ranch Creek Trail, and new and old social trails requested by GIMBA to be added to the existing official system that is already under scrutiny for excessive trail density in many areas and how that density affects habitat and wildlife. FVPT helps to recruit volunteers for trail projects set up by these various organizations and hopes to help get out the word on project dates and work to be accomplished. Items like flagging of proposed reroutes and other workdays will be posted on the FVPT Facebook page and Website. The Adopt-a-Trail program coordinator, Erica Bean, is setting up weekly workdays in different areas that will be listed on the HTA website as well.
This all volunteer organization is funded strictly by donations and their Annual Duck Race, now the only real duck race in the valley. Less than 1,000 rubber ducks are released in heats of 100 on the Fraser River at the bridge just below the Fraser Rodeo grounds. This year’s race features a 250 cash prize and almost 50 other prizes donated by local merchants. The race is scheduled for Sunday Aug. 24, and you don’t have to be present to win. Families are encouraged to come watch or help herd the duckies in the water. The race starts at 10 a.m. to avoid afternoon storms. Adoption forms are available at many local shops, online or email trails@FVPT.org to have your form sent out or emailed. Call President Jeff Russell at 970-722-7860, VP Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547 or secretary-treasurer Louise Powers at 970-726-4209 for information or adoption forms.