Breckenridge, Colorado is known for its majestic mountains and top-notch trails that draw hikers, bikers, skiers, and snowboarders from all over the world. Many trails in and around Breckenridge are on the White River National Forest. And, with help from the National Forest Foundation's Ski Conservation Fund, the statewide nonprofit Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) recently provided stewardship to one of these trails – the Galena Ditch Trail.
On July 23 and 24, VOC teamed up with the Town of Breckenridge to complete the extension of the Galena Ditch Trail. The Galena Ditch Trail is just 4-years-old, but the abandoned mining route it follows was cut into the hillside more than a century ago. Today, the trail serves hikers and mountain bikers as part of an extensive alpine trail network. The area provides scenic views as well as an up-close look at long-deserted ruins and other mining remnants. VOC partnered with The Town of Breckenridge to begin this trail segment in 2012, and was excited to return in 2016 to complete the work.
We are pleased to have received funding from the National Forest Foundation as well as community support for this project. We look forward to a continued partnership based on the commitment of restoring and sustaining our beautiful forests. We could not have offered this special family-friendly volunteer and camping opportunity without NFF’s support!”
Throughout the stewardship project, 130 volunteers aged 12 and up helped build a new single-track trail that will connect the Galena Ditch Trail with the South Fork of the Swan Road. By the end of the weekend, volunteers collectively donated 1,680 hours to construct approximately 3,000 feet of new trail on public open space and National Forest lands.
While adults and older youth were building the trail, kids aged 6 through 11 participated in fun, supervised environmental activities hosted by the nearby Keystone Science School. Everyone reunited at dinnertime around a campfire to share stories and eat s'mores, followed by the thrill of sleeping under the stars.
The Breckenridge economy survives on trail-based recreation year-round. This project will enhance previous projects and existing trails in the area, and it is expected that the completion of this trail will result in a significant increase of annual visitors.