NFF Grant Supports Rocky Mountain Youth Crews
In 2014, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy received funding from the National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program to support additional Conservation Corps crews in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest.
Due to the flooding that devastated much of Colorado, these crews have been pivotal in helping the US Forest Service rebuild trails and recreational areas . With the additional funds, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy was able to support four crews in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest: Rawah Wilderness, Red Feather, Boulder, and Shadow Mountain Crew.
With half of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps’ season complete, each crew has completed significant work in helping the area recover. The Rawah Wilderness Crew , the primary trail crew for a 120 square mile area, continues to hike trails clearing drains, building water bars, and completing log outs to insure the trails have effective erosion controls and the recreationalist have safe access.
The Red Feather Crew has worked extensively in the Estes Park area on both the Lion Gulch Trail and the Lily Mountain Trail. Both were closed immediately after the flood due to washed out bridges, heavy tread damage, and landslides. After less than a week of work, the crew reopened the Lily Mountain Trail by using a rock drill to create tread through a landslide and rebuilding of stone steps washed out. Along the Lion Gulch Trail, the crew partnered with Larimer County Conservation Corps to create new tread, build turnpikes, and dig drainages.
South of Estes Park experienced heavy flooding due to the extensive watershed of the St. Vrain River. Rocky Mountain Conservancy’s Boulder Crew worked extensively over the first half of the season to reopen and repair the popular Ceran St. Vrain, Dry St. Vrain, and East Portal Trails.
Last but not least, the Conservancy’s Shadow Mountain Crew continues to work diligently on the western slope of the Arapho-Roosevelt National Forest to improve recreational access and safety to the Arapaho National Recreation Area and Indian Peaks Wilderness. From rebuilding damaged trail kiosks to clearing snags and hazard trees to installing bear bins, this crew works across the board to improve visitor experience.
To date, the crews have maintained over eighty miles of trail, which includes over 200 log outs, innumerable drains dug, 3 rock walls constructed, and several hundred feet of new trail built by a total of twenty-four conservation interns.