2013 in Review

Thank you for supporting Gunnison Trails. Your support is key to our efforts. We are very proud of our accomplishments and are grateful for strong support from the trail using community.

What is it about trails? Having access to outstanding trail opportunities around Gunnison is important to many of us for the fitness it brings to our bodies, our minds, and our lives. A tough day in our everyday world is often softened by that walk, run or ride on the trails that surround this community.

Gunnison Trails is involved in an ever increasing number of projects and, while our number one priority is always working for trails, both on the ground and in lobbying and planning efforts, increasing our membership and community support gives us a stronger position with land managers and other entities that control our public lands and our trails.

[pullquote]Our mission, and it has not changed since we began in 2006 is: maintaining trails, educating trail users and working toward opportunities for new trails.[/pullquote]

In 2013, Gunnison Trails organized and led numerous maintenance and new construction projects on the public lands around Gunnison. Many of these efforts were part of our weekly program, Trailwork Tuesday, but special projects also took place with Western State Colorado University students, as well as students from Gunnison High School. Increasing our work with area youth is a major goal for the future. Gunnison Trails organized more than 2,000 hours of volunteer efforts on public lands in 2013.

Gunnison Trails continually works on educational messages for trail users and has been recognized and called out for these efforts by the BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and others. Education is a perpetual function of Gunnison Trails.

Another critical aspect of Gunnison Trails is that we are actively pursuing new trail opportunities on public lands near Gunnison. Nobody else is working on this. This means we strive to be at the table for every discussion that takes place about trails and high-quality, self-powered trail access to our public lands.

Gunnison Trails is a key partner of the BLM, the US Forest Service, Gunnison County, the City of Gunnison, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and more.

Among other things, this means we attend a lot of meetings. Of course, we’d rather be outside working on the trails, but 95% of what needs to be done to accomplish anything on public lands requires countless hours spent indoors in meetings with agencies and land managers or on our computers laying the administrative groundwork that will help us work toward accomplishing our mission.

2013 Was a Busy Year for Gunnison Trails

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  • Building on momentum that began in 2012, that included the introduction of Trailwork Tuesday and the rebuild of Tailpipe Trail at Hartman Rocks, 2013 has been the busiest year ever for Gunnison Trails. Here are some of our accomplishments and achievements from this past year:
  • Trailwork Tuesdays – 20 sessions of Trailwork Tuesday this year have resulted in major maintenance on trails at Hartman Rocks, as well as newly constructed trails, too. We also partnered with the US Forest Service for an evening on a valley favorite, the Doctor Park trail, in Taylor Canyon. Over 600 volunteer hours were accrued on Tuesdays in 2013. Two years in, Trailwork Tuesday is a keeper and is a foundation program of Gunnison Trails.
  • Gunnison Trails Working with Youth – Gunnison Trails led over 300 freshmen on trail projects on public lands as part of Western State Colorado University’s First Year Experience. Not only does this aid in student retention, but it also allows us the opportunity to present important educational messages about responsible use of public lands to these brand-new citizens of our valley.
  • Gunnison Trails also led trail education and trailwork projects with students from Gunnison High School as part of Leo Malloy’s Outdoor Education program.
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    The New Upper Collarbone Alley Trail – Gunnison Trails was a key partner in the collaboration that created the new Upper Collarbone Alley trail at Hartman Rocks. Special thanks to Dave Kozlowski, Joel Scott, Don Cook and scores of volunteers who helped champion, design and build this popular new way to end our rides at Hartmans. Also, this project was made possible by the efforts and generosity of Dan Ampietro and the City of Gunnison; Marlene Crosby and Gunnison County; and Julie Feier and Western State Colorado University.

    The Wide Trail Project at Hartman Rocks – This project is Gunnison Trails’ most ambitious undertaking to date. Through a formal partnership with the BLM, Gunnison Trails was instrumental in rerouting two trails with sustainability issues: Sea of Sage and Broken Shovel. Additionally, a new trail was created to link the upper portion of these, forming the best mountain biking loop for kids, families and beginners at Hartmans, as well as a loop that is suitable for handcycles. This grant-funded loop now provides the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte with another high-quality location for their programs. Special thanks to Kristi Murphy and the BLM for all of their hard work administratively, logistically and out on the ground swinging tools.

    Gunnison Sage-grouse Efforts – Gunnison Trails is continually working to educate trail users about the importance of protecting this bird, its habitat and its crucial life stages. We are also involved in working toward the valley-wide effort to show that this species is stable and healthy in our area and not warranted for listing as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Additionally, Gunnison Trails is deeply involved in this discussion to ensure that recreational trail use will be able to continue in our area even if this bird is listed as threatened or endangered by the USFWS.

    Gunnison Trails produced our most successful Original Growler mountain bike race ever over Memorial Day weekend. All proceeds from the Growler benefit Gunnison Trails and provide the organization with the majority of our financial resources. The Growler also has an economic impact to Gunnison of over one million dollars annually. Special thanks to all Original Growler volunteers, partners and participants.

    Gunnison Trails also provided financial support to other valley organizations and events including Western State Colorado University Mountain Rescue Team; Gunnison Nordic; Ana’s Pledge bicycle safety event for kids; the GOATS; and the Deadman’s Bridge project in the Cement Creek area.

    Additionally, in 2013, Gunnison Trails also:
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  • Submitted two grants for new trail planning and construction (keep your fingers crossed!)
  • Was part of Senator Michael Bennet’s Gunnison County Public Lands study group. We will continue working with this group in 2014.
  • Was named non-profit of the year by the Gunnison business community
  • Installed new signs on Collarbone Alley Trail
  • Helped the US Forest Service build Sage-grouse habitat on Flat Top Mountain
  • Continued to pursue our New Projects
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    We could never work on all of these different projects without the support of our membership and our partners. To this end, we want to hear from you. Please let us know what your thoughts and ideas are, for and about trails, and trail advocacy in our area. Thanks again for supporting Gunnison Trails!

    Happy Trails,

    David Wiens
    Executive Director
    Gunnison Trails, Inc. 501c3 not for profit