2023 Trail Days are here!

By Ben Katz 8 months ago
West Elk Wilderness from Interocean Pass. Photo Credit Nick Turner

We are excited to announce Trail Days 2023! Join WSCC on TWO trips in the West Elk and Ragged Wilderness Areas for two days of trail work and a night under the stars. Supported by a horse crew, participants will complete trail work projects before arriving at a backcountry camp. Dinner will be prepared by WSCC and provided free to those who join us. These projects will be two long days, so come ready to work! We anticipate strenuous hiking and working conditions. WSCC will be vetting those who sign up due to the strenuous nature of the hiking and project.

The horsepacking trip is sponsored by WSCC with support from the Roundup Riders of the Rockies. Since the pandemic, there has been an explosion in backcountry use in the West Elk Wilderness, Raggeds Wilderness and the Kebler Pass Corridor of the Gunnison National Forest. To address the impacts of more backcountry users and to improve the accessibility of these trails, WSCC and the Nature Connection have worked together with the US Forest Service Paonia Ranger District to identify areas that need attention. The Nature Connection hires youth and young adult leaders from Delta County to work on backcountry trail crews alongside US Forest Service staff to clear trails of downfall, address drainage and make trails safer for hikers and horseback riders. Since 2021, the National Forest Foundation has supported this trail crew. In 2022, the crew is sponsored by the National Forest Foundation and the Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee. The STOR Committee puts money from donors such as Vail Resorts and from a number of other donors towards addressing the impacts of outdoor recreation in Gunnison County. This project is also made possible due to funding previously provided by the Matching Awards Program of the National Forest Foundation in 2021.

Details of the trips

August Trip: Little Elk Basin

Dates: Fri, 8/25-Sun 8/27 (Friday will just be getting to the campsite at the trailhead the night before at the base of the Little Coal Creek Jeep Road)

Details: We will provide an option to participants to join us at the trailhead on Friday prior to the event, or meet us at 8 AM at the beginning of the Little Coal Creek Jeep Road outside of Crawford. Groups will depart the Interocean Pass Trail on Saturday morning at 9 AM. Participants will hike up the Interocean Pass and the Little Elk Basin trail, clearing the trail as we go, until we hit our camp spot. WSCC will provide dinner for the group that evening and breakfast the following morning, packed in by horses. We will hike back out to the trailhead the next day.

September Trip: Anthracite Pass from Marble to Dark Canyon

Dates: Thurs, 9/28-Sun 10/1 (Thursday will just be getting to the campsite at the trailhead the night before at Dark Canyon. We will have a shuttle depart the Dark Canyon trail and drive us to Marble on Friday morning at 8 AM)

Details: We will provide an option to participants to join us at the trailhead on Friday prior to the event, or meet us at 8 AM at the Dark Canyon trailhead. Groups will depart the Anthracite Pass Trail from Yule Creek on Friday morning at 10 AM. Participants will hike up the steep Anthracite Pass Trail, and then descend to Dark Canyon over the course of the next two days, clearing the trail as we go. WSCC will provide breakfasts and dinners for the group, packed in by horses. We will hike out to the Dark Canyon trailhead the final day.

For more information, please be in contact with Ben Katz, Public Lands Program Director at the Western Slope Conservation Center at [email protected]

Categories:
  Events, Public Lands
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