Spoke Talk: Trail work season has begun
Last weekend, Routt County Riders kicked off its Saturday Trail Work Days program with a morning of maintenance on Emerald Mountain. A handful of volunteers showed up to help crew leaders Gretchen and Marc Sehler repair damage done in the fall, winter and spring.
This week, the organization is anticipating Steamboat Ski Resort’s third annual Sponsorship Day on Thursday, where 100 percent of the day’s ticket proceeds will be donated to Routt County Riders’ trail maintenance fund. For $15, the public can enjoy the Steamboat Bike Park or gondola rides from 3 to 7 p.m.
Sponsorship Day is a beneficial partnership between Routt County Riders and Steamboat Ski Resort. Money raised helps Routt County Riders maintain trails. Often, those trails are on Mount Werner. Last summer, Routt County Riders assisted with the completion of the Sunshine Trail re-route, and the group likely will lead a few trail days there this summer to do some finishing work.
Over the course of a summer, Routt County Riders leads more than 50 trail work sessions, involving nearly 200 volunteers who rack up at least 1,500 hours of work, all for the sake of providing excellent riding around Steamboat. There’s a bit of selfishness in that — volunteers certainly enjoy riding the trails they maintain. But there’s also a lot of selflessness — more often than not, volunteers give up their ride times to work on the trails instead. Trail work volunteers are rewarded with refreshments donated by local restaurants. Without volunteer help and food and drink donations, trail days just wouldn’t fly.
The trails committee meets once or twice per month on Wednesday evenings. Attendees discuss which trails need work and how to accomplish it. They share updates on meetings with land managers and strategize how to advocate for new and improved trails. Trail workers learn about integrating sustainable trail building and repair techniques and discuss equipment needs and how to fund those needs. They talk about rides they’ve just completed or make plans for the next one. Meetings are open to the public, and the committee is always looking for input and assistance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
The trails committee is just one spoke on Routt County Riders’ wheel. The organization also focuses on advocacy issues for all types of riders, be they mountain bikers on forest trails or commuters on a downtown street. It assists with road riding events, such as Tour de Steamboat, and sets up rest areas along county roads for road riders. It supports Safe Routes to School and elementary school bike rodeos, and it strives to educate the public about everything cycling through venues such as Spoke Talk columns.
It’s a great time to be involved with cycling in the Yampa Valley, and those who support Routt County Riders support all types of cycling. Consider giving up one Saturday to work on those trails you enjoy riding all summer long. Join the Routt County Riders membership and become part of the team working to improve our community’s cycling amenities. Or simply show up on Sponsorship Day, ride the Bike Park one day early and know the money you spent on your ticket is helping to fund trail work throughout Routt County.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.
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