Preserving the Wonder of Colorado’s 14ers: Mt. Columbia and Kit Carson Peak/Challenger Point
For the NFF and all of our Find Your Fourteener partners across Colorado, 2020 was a year of learning, adaptation, and evolution. The season didn’t look like we imagined, but thanks to ingenuity and drive, our organizations collectively experienced a tremendous amount of success.
For two peaks, Mt. Columbia and Kit Carson Peak/Challenger Point, 2020 was especially significant. This year represented the final, conclusive year of multi-year, highly technical new trail construction efforts. While we couldn’t carry out the larger public celebrations we had planned for each project, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the awesome work that occurred on each peak over the past five years.
Hikers aiming to reach Columbia and Kit Carson Peak/Challenger Point will benefit from a safer, more enjoyable experience as they reach 14,000+ feet. And the surrounding National Forest lands – the alpine environment, plant and wildlife habitat, and water sources – will be immeasurably protected for years to come.
Now, we’d like to showcase some of the incredible work across both peaks!
Thank you to the many partners and funders who made these projects happen! Both projects benefitted from a diverse array of supporters over the past five years. Support from the Telluray Foundation was critical in bringing the projects over the finish line in 2020. Thank you, Telluray Foundation!
Mt. Columbia has experienced increasingly heavy foot traffic in the past decade. Prior to the new trail construction, hikers used a social trail that ascended straight up a loose scree field. The lack of a sustainable trail caused heavy erosion and damage to the fragile alpine ecosystem and the unstable trail conditions made for dangerous hiking.
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.
With the Forest Service and nine other outstanding stewardship organizations, the NFF launched the Find Your Fourteener campaign in 2017 to harness our collective expertise to help ensure sustainable access to Fourteeners. The Find Your Fourteener campaign goal is to increase the pace and scale of improvements to sustainable recreation opportunities on Colorado’s Fourteeners. Read on for what’s on our Fourteeners stewardship bucket list in 2019!
A heady conference and a rocky Sierra river crashed together for me recently, providing a powerful reminder of how small course corrections can fundamentally change dynamics in a situation.
In Denver, I participated in a 300-person conference on collaborative forest restoration organized by the NFF.
Since 2016 REI has generously supported the National Forest Foundation’s work on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument through the REI ReWilding initiative, which promotes access to our public lands for people in large urban and suburban areas like Los Angeles. Together with our local partners, here are 10 things that our partnership with REI has helped us to accomplish on the Monument.