National Forest Foundation

Finding Creative Solutions to Ramp up Work on Colorado Fourteeners

Treasured Landscapes, Collaboration

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As the desire to summit Fourteeners across Colorado increases, so does the need to work together to rebuild degraded trails and restore fragile alpine habitat on Colorado’s iconic and beloved fourteen-thousand-foot peaks (“Fourteeners”). Through the Find Your Fourteener campaign, the NFF is working with partners to create forward-thinking solutions that will increase the pace and scale of restoration and habitat protection on Colorado’s beloved Fourteeners – and implement those solutions in a collaborative, coordinated manner.

One solution is the development of a special role for “Peak Apprentices.” Through a special partnership between the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, two Apprentices are paving the way in the inaugural position on Mount Elbert and Quandary Peak. Designed to coordinate communications and work objectives between weekday crews and weekend volunteer groups, these positions are helping to ensure success on Mount Elbert and Quandary Peak as multiple crews and volunteer groups move in and out of each project site. 

Partnership and collaboration define the Peak Apprentice program. With support from the NFF, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps recruited, hired and trained two Peak Apprentices. On the peaks, in addition to coordinating and communicating about day-to-day work, the Apprentices learn from and assist highly skilled crews from the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. 

Through these types of apprenticeships, the NFF and partners hope to expand the pool of professional trail builders with technical skills and experiences working in alpine, fragile environments.

The NFF is proud to partner with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative to implement this new program; both organizations have stellar records of recruiting, training, and employing the next generation of trail stewards. 

The NFF recently caught up with Jack, the 2017 Peak Apprentice on Quandary Peak. In the video below Jack explains his role on Quandary Peak, where he works with two staff from the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative – Margaret and Timo – while also interacting with volunteer groups and roving, “adopt-a-peak” crews from the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.

  • “RMYC” = Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
  • “CFI” = Colorado Fourteeners Initiative 

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