Dear Original Growler (Meowler, too!) Supporter,

Even though the trails around Gunnison are still riding great, the single digit morning temperatures remind that our work on the ground for 2015 is either over or is rapidly coming to an end.

Thanks to your participation in the Original Growler, and not just the 2015 version, but any of them since we rolled this crazy animal out in 2008, the trail experience around Gunnison, and at Hartman Rocks in particular, is among the best anywhere. The work we are able to accomplish out there is a direct result of Gunnison Trails having the financial resources to get projects done and the wolf’s share of these resources come from your Growler entry fees.

(Growler and Meowler registration opens December 1st, 2015)

The Growler events are owned and operated by, and benefit 100%, Gunnison Trails, Inc., a Colorado non-profit focused on nothing more than trails in the Gunnison area.

If you rode the 2015 Growler, you were able to sample some fresh singletrack that extended Gateway Trail. Since then, we also built and opened three additional trails in the same area. We call this the Graceland complex and the new trails are: the namesake, Graceland; the side trip to one of the numerous, granite sentinels at Hartman’s, Cat’s Castle Trail; the extended short-cut connector, High Five; and the extension to Gateway. These new trails were built by volunteers and by paid youth from Western Colorado Conservation Corps.

Youth corps workers building the Graceland Trail at Hartman Rocks this summer

Youth corps workers building the Graceland Trail at Hartman Rocks this summer

Map of the new "Graceland Complex" of trails (can you tell why the name Graceland was chosen?)

Map of the new “Graceland Complex” of trails (can you tell why the name Graceland was chosen?)

This project has been in the works for more than 10-years and added over 4-miles of new, high-quality trail to the 50-miles of singletrack in the Hartman Rocks area. Even though this project was made possible through a grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s OHV program, Gunnison Trails could never have pulled it off without the resources supplied by your participation in the Growler.

Other Gunnison Trails projects your participation in the Growler supports or has supported:

  • Trailwork – Probably the single biggest reason the trails at Hartman Rocks are in such great shape. For several years, annually Gunnison Trails has organized and led between 1,000 and 2,000 volunteer work hours on trails and public lands. These efforts also include working with local high school and college students.
Western State Colorado University students building Tailpipe Trail in 2012.

Western State Colorado University students building Tailpipe Trail in 2012.

  • Politicking – Gunnison Trails is at the table for every meeting and discussion possible about trails and public lands. We work hard on our relationships with the BLM, the USFS, the State of Colorado, Gunnison County, the City of Gunnison, and others, and have become an influential organization in the upper Gunnison valley.
  • Signal Peak Trail System Planning – Imagine an area larger than Hartman Rocks and even closer to Gunnison. This is the Signal Peak area and Gunnison Trails is currently putting together a trails master plan for this amazing expanse of BLM public lands directly behind the campus of Western State Colorado University.
Trail riding in the Signal Peak area.

Trail riding in the Signal Peak area.

  • Aberdeen Quarry Area in Hartman Rocks – Gunnison Trails has worked hard with the Aberdeen Historical Society, a private entity that owns land with some of our best mountain biking: the Skull Pass trails and the access to the Aberdeen Loop. In 2015, Gunnison Trails built a bridge and revived and improved a trail in this area that makes access to the Aberdeen Loop infinity better.
  • Evan’s Loop trails at Hartman Rocks – This project from 2013 built and rebuilt trails in this area and created a kid, beginner and hand cycle friendly experience that was lacking in the tech-heavy Hartman Rocks area.
  • Tailpipe Trail – Part of either the beginning or end of the Growler course, prior to this project in 2012, this trail was an unsustainable, rutted plunge. Even though it’s short, this is a favorite and one of the most frequently used trails at Hartmans.
  • The Aberdeen Loop – The development of the two trails that make up this epic 10+ mile loop in the nether regions of Hartman’s was in the works since the late 1990’s. The BLM and Gunnison Trails rolled up our collective sleeves in 2010 to make this a reality. The trail run for the Original Meowler, another fund raising event for Gunnison Trails, takes place on the Aberdeen Loop.
Some of the tasty track of the Skull Pass Trail.

Some of the tasty track of the Skull Pass Trail.

  • Going even further back, Gunnison Trails’ fingerprints are all over reroute projects that kept open and improved the following trails (each was proposed to be closed in 2005 due to natural resource or private property concerns):
    • The Ridge Trail
    • Top ‘O the World Trail
    • Gateway Trail
    • Josie’s Trail
    • Dirty Sock Trail
  • New Projects – the Gunnison to Crested Butte Trail and the Van Tuyl Ranch access to public lands are both proposals that Gunnison Trails continues to champion. New trail proposals are tough to get traction for but with Governor Hickenlooper’s recent emphasis on bicycles, including mountain biking, it’s important to keep these on the radar.
  • And more…..

We hope you feel some ownership of Gunnison area trails and the progress we have made because without your participation in the Growler, none of this would have been possible.

If you are up for the challenge again in 2016, the 9th Original Growler will take place on May 28-29. Registration opens December 1st and detail are HERE.

Tailpipe Trail at Hartman Rocks.

Tailpipe Trail at Hartman Rocks.

The 2nd Original Meowler mountain duathlon (MTB, trail run, MTB) will have its own date for 2016: May 22nd. Meowler registration also opens on December 1st and details are HERE.

Also, the Sage Burner trail running races are back and look to be stronger than ever with ultra runner, Duncan Callahan, and the Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports program taking the reigns of this Colorado classic. The Sage Burner will be May 21st and details are HERE.

Thanks for supporting trails and Gunnison Trails and enjoy the coming winter!

Dave Wiens
Executive Director
Gunnison Trails, Inc. 501c3 not for profit
[email protected]