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The Adopt-A-Trail program in the 2007 Trail season was a tremendous success.  The Volunteer Adopters visited their adopted sections and worked on maintaining The Colorado Trail.  They removed fallen trees blocking the Trail and refurbished the water drains to limit Trail erosion.  Altogether, this was a giant effort with some 142 people laboring over 2,000 hours.  After their work the Adopters reported their findings to the CTF office and to the Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator, Janet Farrar, who then tabulates and communicates.  Tremendous success!

The AAT Program got a big boost in 2007 in the way of a generous $5000 grant from REI.  This funding helped the CTF purchase POCKET CHAINSAWS.  These efficient little tools weigh less than 8 ounces and come in a small pouch.  They are easy to carry and cut super efficiently.  REI was contacted and agreed to fund the purchase to outfit Adopters and other key CT volunteers.  Adopters responded gratefully, with testimonials like, “Wow, having this pocket chainsaw was great. It helped me clear the Trail.”

REI has really helped the volunteers who care for The Colorado Trail keep the Trail in good shape.  The Colorado Trail Foundation is appreciative of the REI assistance.  Financial support like this is crucial, especially given how challenging it is to care for our nearly 500 mile Trail.  Thanks REI.

Another AAT development in 2007 was a microburst blow-down that buried Segment 1 of The Colorado Trail under around 300 newly fallen trees.  It was a real snarl.  We contacted the Forest Service for assistance.  They said they’d try to help but that the high winds had hit vast areas in the Front Range mountains and that trees were down across many many trails.  The Foresters weren’t sure they had nearly enough man power on their team.  Still, two FS firefighter crews went out and started clearing The Colorado Trail.  They made a dent and removed around 50 logs before informing the CTF that they could do no more.

The CTF began networking with key CT volunteers.  The Trail need was becoming more widely known, and more problematic, with all the Spring users that found themselves entrapped.  One volunteer surfaced, Doug Wamsley, who walked through, counted fallen trees and took pictures.  Doug is a retired smokejumper and a member of the National Smokejumpers Association.  He’s no stranger to a chainsaw and to the challenge presented by this jumble of 250 trees.  Doug agreed to work with the CTF office and take a leadership role.  He planned chainsaw excursions, and coordinated with the Forest Service and fellow volunteers.  The task was full of logistics, including that the trees were in an area with limited access.  Doug coordinated the work.  Other volunteers chipped in, including some energetic mountain bicyclists, and Scott Dollus of the Forest Service.  Together, these wonderful CTF volunteers completely cleared the Segment 1 blow-down.  Thankfully, they reestablished The Colorado Trail as safe for Trail users.  Wow – thanks all, thanks Doug.

AAT Volunteer Notes

From past CT volunteer Adopter, LaVern Nelson, Section 26.1 Bolam Pass to Hotel Draw (11 miles):
February 13, 2007 — “Dear Friends: It is going to be a Great Summer up on The Colorado Trail. Lots of work – the big snow will have taken down a lot of trees. Keep up the good work.”

From new CT volunteer Adopters Dave Peters and Jodie Petersen, Section 23.1 Wager Gulch to Stony Pass Road (12 miles):
Sept 7, 2007 — “We’re totally psyched about our adopted section of the CT, which of course is the prettiest of them all…anxious to spend a week backpacking & maintaining up there.”

From long time CT volunteer Adopter, Dean Schulze, Section 2.1, South Platte River to County Rd 126 (9 miles):
“I took the Boy Scouts out for maintanence on section 2.1 last Saturday. We spent most of the time in the center section that is still forested. We removed about 10 downed trees. There were 3 trees that fell on top of each other and completely blocked the trail where it makes a 180 degree turn about a mile north towards the river) from where the service road intersects the trail. The only way to make it through that area was to walk down and then up through a small ravine.

Those three downed trees were pretty good size so we had to saw them in several sections to get them off of the trail. Two of the downed trees had formed part of a natural retaining wall of trees at the edge of the ravine and now that they were down the trail would quickly erode down the face of the ravine. We dug a trench between two still-standing trees and cut the downed trees into about 15 foot long sections and buried them to create a new retaining wall for the trail at that point. The standing trees secure the ends of the buried tree trunks so it should be reasonably permanent. It would have been best to bury a post to secure the middle of that length, but we didn’t have to tools to do it.

While the boys and the other adult leader built the retaining wall and ate lunch I went for a run east on the trail to see how much more needed to be done. There are three more downed trees still blocking the trail (easy to step over) before even getting to the burn area. I met a hiker who said that there were two more downed trees blocking the trail between there and the river. We also had a group of scouts go west from the service road / trail intersection and they reported two more trees blocking the trail in the burn area in addition to the ones they removed.

Bottom line is that there are still about 8 downed trees blocking the trail in section 2.1. All of them are easy to step over, but mountain bikers would have to dismount for most of them. We also went out to burn area just east of highway 126 and filled in three spots in the trail where there was some rutting.

Bill, the saws you gave me worked great. I’d like to buy them (unless you need them back and can order me a couple). I’ll get the trail report forms off of the web site and return them with the liability waivers.”

From long term CT volunteer Adopter Chuck Lawson, CTF Section 15.1 Fooses Creek to Marshall Pass (11 miles):
Saturday, June 23, 2007, To: Brett Beasley, US Forest Service: Hey Brett, I just sent to you the initial official CTF report of our inspection of our adopter section. What a great job you did last fall on those culverts and hauling backfill from clear back at the end of the jeep road really capped them off. The wet spring has not eroded any of the material that you used for backfill, although some of the run-off was attempting to end-run around them. Linda ditched out some channels directing the run-off back into the culverts and piled lots of smaller rocks to reinforce the banks on the upstream side. The bridge railing repair on the Fooses Creek TH end was holding up great as well. We will try and return to inspect some of the higher areas but there was just too much water running to ignore this trip. I am concerned about the steep pitch at the top of Fooses Creek, but we just didn’t have the time to get up there. We are trying to recruit some friends and acquaintances to join us in late August to either work on culverts and turnpikes at the Fooses Creek TH end which needs more drainage. Or go up to the Marshall Pass end to install more water bars and berm removal in the trees before you come to the scree field. This trail in this area was still covered 25 times by snow drifts between the new culverts and the scree field, so I am sure we can find some additional drainage needed here. I’ll let you know if we get this put together, along with the necessary names, etc. Thanks for all you do to support us throughout the area from Cottonwood Creek to Marshall Pass. I don’t know what we would do without your help with all the downfall this past year. I’ll keep you posted on anything else we hear.”

From volunteer Adopt-A-Trail (AAT) Program Coordinator, Janet Farrar:
October 6, 2007 to the CTF Board of Directors: “Adopter reports continue to arrive at the office this week. To tentatively wrap up the 2007 season, the current statistics are:

  • 57 sections of Trail, currently 1 unadopted section (8.3)
  • 54 Adopters (2 have 2 sections)
  • 6 Adopters not reporting by October 1
  • 10 Adopter sections not completing waivers, including those not filing reports
  • Reported to date are over 1,650 volunteer hours of trail work

This year, we discontinued Adoption of the Jefferson Loop (section 6.3), which had been adopted for many years by Paul Berteau. And we added new Adopters: Dale Zoetewey, section 10.1; Dan and Luci Obenhaus, section 19.1; Steve Stadler, section 20.1; Dave Peters and Jodie Petersen, section 23.1, Jennifer Rector, section 24.3. Larry Mack will retire so we will need an Adopter for section 27.2.

Thanks to Bill’s tireless efforts, we sold 80 pocket chainsaws to Adopters, which at $10 each was a real bargain. Reports on the effectiveness of the saws are truly amazing. We are confidant that these little saws will help make tree removal much easier since that seems to be the number one obstacle to trail clearing, which will always be a major issue for Adopters.

I got to meet several Adopters again this year, and I continue to stay in communication with everyone, stressing reporting and waiver completion. However, the general pattern of the last couple years indicates that there are many compliant Adopters, and a few who are not as compliant. I will continue to work to boost our compliance and success.”

From the CTF via Janet Farrar, volunteer AAT Program Coordinator:
Clear Fallen Trees – hopefully Before End of June – to make way for Trail users
Clean Water Diversions – sometime during Trail season – to prevent erosion
Communicate to CTF/AAT Coordinator – as needed & requested – including submitting reports
Thank you! We really need your help as an Adopter. Please stay in touch!”