Bell Creek Trail Day in the Books

By Reaha Goyetche 3 months agoNo Comments

Within the Gunnison National Forest, the Paonia Ranger District manages 227 miles of hiking and horseback trails across 478,000 acres. To paraphrase moms everywhere, those trails don’t just take care of themselves!

To that end, the Paonia Ranger District is employing several trail crews this summer. The Conservation Legacy Environmental Steward interns began their season focusing on more readily accessible trails, such as Dark Canyon and the Raggeds Trail. Another group of five Delta County youth make up the Youth Conservation Corps. So far, they’ve cleared the Beckwith Trail, Three Lakes Loop, and the Dyke Trail.

The trail crew and volunteers gearing up for a day on Lamborn’s Bell Creek Trail.

In a partnership with the Western Slope Conservation Center, the Forest Service planned two summer trail work days. On Friday morning, thirteen volunteers picked up pulaskis and tagged along for the first one. With a big rain the night before, the crews tested the truck’s 4WD capabilities driving everyone to the Bell Creek Trailhead.

Close to the base, the trail crew and volunteers installed twenty check dams  and water bars. These check dams divert water from the trail, minimizing erosion. Higher up, another crew closed an unsustainable user-created shortcut and improved the switchbacks. After an afternoon of hard work, they had widened the treading by 18 inches and removed tripping hazards. Three volunteers climbed further and removed overgrown brush and fallen debris from the trail.

Jake doesn’t like to brag, but he knows a thing or two about trail maintenance. 

The Youth Conservation Corps first reported that their river trip with their crew leader was their favorite day of the summer. After prompting, they revised that opinion and said the volunteer trail day was their real favorite day of the summer.

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Missed the fun the first time?  Come out to Lost Lake on Saturday, August 5th!

Meet at 8 AM at the Paonia Ranger District at 403 Rio Grande Ave in Paonia.

RSVP here or email reaha@theconservationcenter.org.

Please bring:

– lunch
– water
– work clothes (long-sleeved shirt & pants)
– boots
– work gloves
– sun protection

Individual volunteer opportunities with the US Forest Service are available. Contact barrettcfunka@fs.fed.us to learn more!

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