Spoke Talk: Donate to trails | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: Donate to trails

Helen Beall
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

This past Saturday afternoon, I had just put my cruiser bike away after riding in the 24-hour ‘Boat Cruise.  As I gazed out the window, reflecting on the past 24 hours, something strange started to happen. It began to rain. Suddenly it was hailing, and I watched my lawn furniture fly upside-down as I frantically closed every window in my house.

Once the rain and the wind stopped, I quickly called my riding buddy because I knew Sunday morning was going to be a powder day.  A brown pow day.  We have waited months for this day to arrive.  

I coordinated schedules with my partner, her partner, our babies and the dog to arrange for an 8:30 a.m. departure to ride a two-hour lap on Emerald Mountain.  

As we started up the Bluffs, we smiled in delight as the tackiness of the trail allowed our tires to roll through tight switchbacks.  When we arrived at Morning Gloria for a 35-minute climb of switchbacks and conversation, we encountered downed tree after downed tree.  We cleared what we could by proudly lifting small branches over our heads and tossing them aside victoriously. However, there were many trees we couldn’t clear.  At one point, we couldn’t even find the trail. 

I came home and gave my husband a 3.5-minute trail report as he handed me our son and ran out the door for his brown pow day.  Little did I know he tucked his saw into his backpack.  

He wasn’t the only one out there that day who cleared trees on local trails across town.  There were reports of trail angels working in anonymity on Flash of Gold, Soda Ditch, Emerald Mountain, Spring Creek and more.  But trail angels can only do so much. 

Public land managers followed the locals on Monday with chainsaws to clear the larger trees.  Our community cares about trails and this is evident as, two days after the storm, our local trails are now mostly clear.

Besides carrying small saws in our packs, our locals have also reached into their own wallets to support trail maintenance work for the long term. To date, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund has received over $560,000 in gifts from locals and visitors alike.

This fund was created in 2016 to support trail maintenance on nonmotorized trails, for the benefit of all human-powered trail users. To date, the fund has supported trail work on Fish Creek Falls, Uranium Mine, 1101 (CDT Trail), Spring Creek Pond Loop, Yampa River Core Trail improvements, Emerald Mountain and hired a full-time summer employee to clear countless trails on nearby U.S. Forest Service land. 

The list of projects and trails that will be improved will continue to grow as this fund was established to provide funding towards trail maintenance for generations.  The goal of the fund is to raise $1 to $1.5 million by 2026. 

To learn more about the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund or to make a donation, head to yvcf.org/trails. Now is the time to make a donation, as a $15 thousand dollar-for-dollar matching challenge is underway in honor of Marc Sehler — whose legacy continues to inspire us to maintain and enjoy our local trails.

Helen Beall is the community impact manager for the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

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