After months of planning and preparation, Find Your Fourteener campaign partners are preparing for the biggest season yet in terms of dollars invested and work completed. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused plans to shift, evolve and adapt, many fourteener-related projects are moving forward as planned. Across the state, partners are ramping up to spend another season repairing and constructing trails to ensure sustainable access to Colorado’s beloved fourteeners.
Where will the campaign focus in 2020?
Find Your Fourteener partners will spearhead work on Mt. Elbert (South and North Elbert trails), Grays and Torreys Peaks, Mt. Columbia, Kit Carson Peak/Challenger Point, Pikes Peak (Devil’s Playground Trail) and Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, Redcloud, Handies and Sunshine Peaks in the Lake City area.
Who are the partners?
For the fourth year running, the NFF is thrilled to join a cast of incredible partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, Mile High Youth Corps, Wildland Restoration Volunteers, Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado, Get Outdoors! Leadville, Colorado Mountain Club, Friends of the Peak, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District and the Continental Divide Trail Association – along with counties, towns, and other local government entities, as well as outfitters, guides, and local businesses. THANK YOU!
Collectively, we are moving forward thanks to support from Colorado Parks and Wildlife through the Colorado State Trails and Colorado the Beautiful programs, the Telluray Foundation, REI, Aurora Water, Freeport-McMoRan, Kirkpatrick Family Fund and many other partners who are investing in this important work.
How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting field season?
Find Your Fourteener partners are rising to the challenges posed by the pandemic, but elements of a “normal” field season will be different. Crews will be smaller, working and traveling in a way that promotes social distancing, health, and safety. Many volunteer events have been postponed or cancelled, and those moving forward have changed in scope to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers.
If you are interested in fourteener volunteerism, please check out this link for more information: https://www.nationalforests.or....
We encourage interested volunteers to check in with NFF and our partners, as volunteer opportunities are dynamic and subject to change.
Finally, many of us care deeply for fourteeners – and this is the time of year when we’re typically making summit lists and eyeing trail conditions. However, this year it’s more important than ever to recreate responsibly on Colorado’s busy fourteeners! What does this mean? Before you attempt to hike a fourteener, we encourage you to take the following steps:
- Think about how far you're planning to go. As part of Colorado's "Safer at Home" phase, Governor Polis has ordered Coloradans not to travel more than 10 miles from their homes to recreate and to stay in their home communities. The order is in effect at least through May 27, 2020.
- Visit the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative website and learn more about hiker use numbers across Colorado’s fourteeners. If you’re planning to visit a popular fourteener, especially during peak summer months, you will be among thousands of other hikers. Social distancing will be challenging. It may be prudent to consider shifting your plans to a new timeframe or less popular trail.
- Please follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommendations in order to protect yourself and those around you. To learn more about how you can recreate responsibly while social distancing, click here.
- Follow the orders in effect within Region 2 of the Forest Service (which includes Colorado). For example, all developed recreation sites, such as developed campgrounds, are currently closed.
- Find out how local health ordinances, rules and regulations may affect your trip. Many rural counties in Colorado have stringent rules in place to protect citizens and visitors. Even if you need to take the responsible step to postpone your trip, the mountains will still be around next year and the year after for exploration and adventure.
- Finally, if you take the steps above and determine it's safe to move forward with your trail-based adventure, as always please be respectful of any crews or volunteers you encounter on the trail.