Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Volunteers Clear the Way for Hunters, Hikers, Others

There’s nothing like being part of a successful team. A dozen volunteers from the North Fork Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently joined ranks with the Youth Conservation Corp and some of their parents, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and employees of the West Elk Mine to clear 3.5 miles of a popular trail in west-central Colorado.

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves during the day-long project and used chainsaws, loppers and pole saws to remove downed timber and cut back overgrown brush on the Interocean Pass Trail (USFS Trail #890) on the Paonia Ranger District of the Gunnison National Forest. It had not been cleared for quite some time and trail users who encountered the group offered many compliments and thanks. The crew also built several drainage structures and a small retaining wall. 

The trail is heavily used and is a popular destination for elk and deer hunters, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, horseback riders and other folks. It climbs through aspen and conifer stands while rewarding users with spectacular views of the surrounding West Elk Mountains. It also provides access to Mount Lamborn and its 11,401-foot peak, the highest point in Delta County. 

The four Youth Conservation Corps crew members also learned about coal extraction, bats and other outdoor issues. They later gave a well-received presentation to the community on what they learned that included their trail work. 

RMEF volunteers took part in a similar project a year ago on the edge of the West Elk Wilderness where they cleared 10 miles of trail over two days.

Go here to see a local newspaper story about the 2016 project.




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