Spoke Talk: What is your favorite trail worth?
There are many non-motorized trails in Routt County. Some are new, some are old, some were designed and some were critter trails that have become system trails.
Trails have several enemies, such as design, water and use. Many trails came to be by people going to a destination, viewpoint, mountaintop, lake or waterfall. Usually, the goal was to get to the destination as quickly as possible. The trail — typically an out-and-back — would usually be steep and straight up a hill. The design of this type of trail leads to erosion. With use, the trail compacts and water easily runs down the trail with no escape. As the water carries soil downhill, the trail becomes deeper and more rutted.
All user groups, walkers, runners, horses and mountain bikers contribute to trail erosion. The greater our population becomes and the more people want to recreate outside and use trails, the more trails will need a little love.
Trails designed and built to shed water can handle more users with limited trail repair. These trails are built as a system loop or have some connectivity. The trail is only once per trip instead of twice, like on an out-and-back.
Many of our system trails need work, and with a little elbow grease, they could become your favorite trails. Some trails need a small reroute to larger sections needing a major reroute. Trail work sometimes happens quickly and is noticeable, leading some to think the trail fairies are working at night fixing the problem areas. I wish that were true. So ask yourself, what is your favorite trail worth?
All trails need to be maintained. Having volunteers helps the work go faster and builds ownership in your soon-to-be favorite trail. Routt County Riders holds trail work days almost every other Saturday.
There will also be opportunities to volunteer during the week to help rebuild some of Emerald’s trails after the beetle kill logging is finished.
If you are a trail user, think about volunteering one work day per year. If that isn’t possible, consider donating to the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund.
To volunteer, visit Routt County Riders’ website at routtcountyriders.org/volunteer.
To donate, visit the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund’s website at yvcf.org/trails. You can make a difference in our trail systems.
Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. If you would like to help or want more information, contact us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gretchen Sehler is a member of Routt County Riders.
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