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The Adopter Program is so diverse! We have Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, mountain bike groups, horseback rider groups, church groups, all women groups, co-workers, friends, families (one has eight children who work!), couples, other trail maintenance groups, Copper Mountain Ski area employees, and the owners of the Trailhead store in Buena Vista. But they all have something in common: they love the Colorado Trail and want to help keep it in great shape. In my seven years involved with the program, I have constantly stressed a major component: COMMUNICATION. Adopters are our eyes and ears on the Trail. They need to report Trail conditions as early in the season as possible and ensure the Trail is open, especially by clearing any deadfall the winter has produced. And if we hear about conditions on the Trail, we communicate that with Adopters. And reporting during and at the end of the season is critical for scheduling the next years’ maintenance crews. We all work together to ensure that the Colorado Trail is the premier outdoor experience we all know it is!!!

The Colorado Trail Foundation’s Adopt-A-Trail program has long been a key component in the upkeep of this outdoor treasure. Adopters are the on-the-ground eyes and ears of the organization. (Look for their names in the Friends section of this Tread Lines issue.)

Adopters travel their section at the beginning and end of each hiking season to record trail conditions, remove fallen trees and other obstructions, maintain water diversions and correct minor erosion problems, and notify the foundation of maintenance needs beyond their resources and/or capabilities.

Sixty-two volunteers currently oversee the 63 Adopter sections, which range from 3 to 20 miles in length. Veteran volunteer Janet Farrar oversees the program.

Those filing their annual reports by the end of September had logged nearly 5,500 hours of work on the trail.

New Adopters this year are:

  • Brad Klafehn (Section 7.1) took over for Paul Petty this past spring
  • Dave Callais (Section 8.2), a longtime Colorado Mountain Club member and volunteer who has organized CMC trail work and thru-hiked the CT in 2008
  • Alan Carpenter (Section 9.2), who thru-hiked the CT in 2009 and did several presentations earlier this year with Managing Director Bill Manning at REI stores around the metro are
  • Eric Mink (Section 10.2)
  • John and Betsy Sylvester (Section 11.1), who took over for Trail Crew Leader Phil Smith. (The Sylvesters previously volunteered for several of Smith’s trail crews.)
  • Keith and Evelyn Baker (Section 13.1), who own the TrailHead store in Buena Vista. (Merle McDonald had long overseen that section, but was forced to retire for health reasons.)
  • Bob Miner (Section 14.4), who took over for his father-in-law, Rolly Rogers
  • Larry and Denise Quinn (Section 17.1)
  • Ann Horner and family (Section 17.2)
  • Daryll Southwick (Section 21.2), who has family roots in the Lake City/Creede area
  • Loren Woods replaced Merle McDonald as coordinator of Area 5, Sections 16.1 to 20.1

“Sadly,” Janet reports, “Ted Violett passed away earlier this year, but his Adopter partner and wife, Martha, is continuing to gather a group from Western State College in Gunnison to take care of Segment 18.”  That is just further testament to the dedication and commitment of CTF volunteers.

Adopter Notes

Section 4.1 Stephen Cave, Family & Friends

“[We] removed 4 downed trees; cleared waterbars. Signage and trail markers good. With the work performed on 6/1/10, the trail is cleared from FS Rd 543 to McCurdy Trail. Several hikers commented on the good trail condition and thanked us for the work.”

Section 6.4 Bill Carpenter, Trail Builders

“Placed two, steel “No Motor Vehicle” signs at road/CT intersections. These signs are great; they are not going anywhere soon. They are bullet proof. They should out live all of us.”

Section 10.2 Eric Mink

“Generally the trail is in pretty good shape. There is heavy use from Halfmoon Road to the Mt Massive Trail 1487. After that point, use must decline by at least 75% as there is far less wear on the trail. The trail will need some nipping work from mile 3-5 later in the summer to cut back small saplings and branches that have begun to encroach into the trail right of way.

Interesting notes: We met a hiker who was going from Mexico to Canada along the Continental Divide. He had started in April and planned to be done late summer. He was hiking in a fundraiser for the LiveStrong organization and we were the first trail crew he had seen thus far. We also saw 1 bear and 6 elk while camping overnight near the Mt Massive trailhead cutoff.”

Section 17.1 Denise Quinn, Quinn Family

“Overall, trail was in pretty good condition. There were at least 3 fresh fallen trees that someone had already cleared. As this section of the CT is motorcycle-friendly it seems to be kept clear for motorcycle usage. Very well marked. We will be hiking this section of the trail again in a couple of weeks as part of our goal to section-hike the CT.”

Section 20.1 Steve Stadler, Far Out

“After establishing camp near the Eddiesville Trailhead in support of Trail Crew 0610, we learned of the up-canyon tree problems from a recent hiker. On Wednesday of the 28th (Crew 0610 day off), hiked up canyon with Rick Larned & Fred Almy to take care of the downed timber. It was a 15 mile hike, but got the trail cleared. The Trail is open to San Luis Pass. The valley was very dry with several normally flowing tributary streams not flowing at all which we found unusual. That has probably changed in the last week because of monsoonal flow.”

Section 23.1 Dave Peters & Jodie Peterson

“[We did a] 37 mile total backpack [trip]. Reroute is in excellent shape (except motorized area) and is finally a visible, easy-to-follow, “new” trail. Mountain bike use has increased; future impacts still unknown.

Tom Malacek (Rio Grande District Ranger) facilitated a USFS vehicle shuttle/drop-off for our crew of three at Stoney Pass so we could avoid vehicle damage by marmot this year. Matt Janowiak (Columbine District Ranger) personally drove the shuttle and we really appreciated this USFS help! Thank you letters were sent to both.”

Section 24.2 Jerry Brown

“The Elk Creek Adopter Crew performed trail maintenance on The Colorado Trail from 6/24 – 6/27, 2010. I am pleased to announce that the Elk Creek portion of the CT is clear and ready to go. This was the easiest year ever for this segment, with only 15 trees to remove. All are gone, including the one near the beaver ponds mentioned in an earlier trail report from SJNF. There is on 32″ tree touching but not blocking the trail near timberline, but horse and hiker access is not affected so it was left alone.

The rockslide near the bottom is tight but passable to horses if they wander into the creek a bit. I must admit that I had a great deal of skepticism as to the effectiveness of last year’s repair. It survived the spring runoff (which appears to have been huge) amazingly well and now looks like a great success to me. A SCC crew is going in to work there on July 11th, and the new slide has provided a lot of good material to further reinforce the path. My hat is off to Don for his success here.

Almost all of the snow is gone and the creek is running lower than usual.”