Spoke Talk: For the love of NPR trail | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: For the love of NPR trail

Jenny Carey
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Tools were swinging and dust was flying Saturday on Emerald Mountain as NPR trail got some much-needed love from a group of enthusiastic volunteers. It was a sight to see with about 30 folks grubbing out vegetation, shaping berms and hauling heavy jugs of water to transform the dusty trail back to its original glory.

A major maintenance and rebuild project is underway on NPR and is scheduled to last about four weeks overall, having started in late May. The project has brought together a lot of people and has been a true testament to the power of collaboration.

After the city was turned down for grant funding to pay for a rebuild of the trail, a generous community donor approached the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and Routt County Riders about helping to fund the project. With additional dollars from Routt County Riders, the city of Steamboat Springs and the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund, enough money was put together to contract Conservation Trails staff to lead the project.

Additional help has come from city staff as well as volunteers who are showing up almost daily to lend a hand. Nonprofits like Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps are also involved in the project. Trail work takes a village.

NPR was built in 2015 with Steamboat residents’ 2A tax accommodation dollars as the first mountain bike-specific downhill trail on Emerald Mountain. Since then, it has become a local favorite on Emerald, offering a flow-filled ride down the mountain without worrying about uphill traffic. It has alleviated downhill bike traffic on other trails, helping to reduce user conflict on a busy trail system.

While yearly maintenance on NPR was completed in the past, 2020 was an especially rough season for all trails. With barely any rain, city budget cuts (due to COVID-19) and more use than ever as trail users ventured out, many local trails turned to powdery moon dust by the end of the summer. NPR has been due for a tuneup and is getting the attention it needs.

As a land manager with the city, I am so appreciative of the volunteer work days organized by Routt County Riders, and they have been a huge help to rally a lot of work in a short amount of time. It was great to join the volunteers last Saturday, and we look forward to more work days in the future.

To see the community collaboration coming together to work on the trails that are near and dear to our hearts is a great experience, and I highly recommend it.

If you would like to be involved in the project, volunteers are welcome at the work site any day during the week. Please reach out beforehand and contact Routt County Riders at rcriders@routtcountyriders.org or Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation at 970-879-4300 for more information.

Thanks for your patience on the trail closures, and we hope to see you out riding the improved NPR soon.

Jenny Carey is open space and trails supervisor for the city of Steamboat Springs.

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