Mountain bikers launch campaign to fund trails
VAIL — The Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association is seeking trail enthusiasts to help the organization raise $50,000 to fund an Adopt-A-Trail program.
Currently, Eagle County has more than 600 miles of U.S. Forest Service trails in Eagle County and a two-person ranger trail crew. The fundraising campaign will provide funds for an additional seasonal Forest Service ranger and an independent coordinator and it will cover other costs associated with a proposed valleywide Adopt-a-Trail program. The ranger would supervise the program, focusing on basic trail maintenance on the existing system within the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District to include cleaning drainage features, removing brush and down trees, and ensuring appropriate signs are in place. More than $13,000 has been raised in less than a week, including a $5,000 contribution by Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District. In order to hire, the fundraising deadline is set for Monday. The fundraising campaign is one of the first of its kind in Colorado.
According to Jamie Malin, cyclist association president and owner of Kind Bikes and Skis, more than 80 percent of Eagle County is located on public lands either managed by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. In an effort to make the Vail Valley a world-class trail destination, Malin said there is a need to increase the staffing of local agencies with continued community involvement.
“We’ve made a lot of strides in the past few years, building and creating trail maintenance programs, but more resources are needed to take the valley to the next level,” Malin said. “If we can work as a community and bring together our hikers, bikers, trail runners and other users, we can increase the capabilities of our partners at the Forest Service. Currently, our existing trails don’t get the attention they need now and there is no approval capacity for new trails until we properly take care of existing trails. As a result, the Adopt-a-Trail program, similar to what has been done in other communities, is a required step to allow the Forest Service to take us in the right direction.”
An additional $37,000 is needed to fund the ranger and create the Adopt-a-Trail program, which would establish a system for the basic trail maintenance so our trails become sustainable, Malin said. The Adopt-a-Trail program would offer opportunities for local organizations and businesses to care for their favorite trail. Individuals could partner with a club or business to help. One hundred percent of the contributions will directly fund the Adopt-a-Trail program As a chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association, the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association is a nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible.
To donate, go to http://www.gofundme.com/adopt-a-ranger or call Malin at 248-866-2457. For details about or to volunteer with the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association, go to http://www.vvmba.org or follow the group on Facebook.