Trail work planned for summer
EAGLE COUNTY — Everyone from mountain bikers to hikers to trail runners have a lot to be excited about in the Vail Valley this summer, as the local trail coalition announces plans to build some new trails, revive old, forgotten ones and repair some of the most trodden routes in the area.
It’s the biggest year yet for the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association as the trail coalition is set to partner with local municipalities, nonprofits, Vail Resorts and other trail users that include Eagle’s Hardscrabble Coalition and the Rocky Mountain Sport Riders. With a vision to establish Eagle County as a premiere trail destination, VVMBA has a handful of ambitious projects for the summer season that include rerouting the entirety of Berry Creek’s Endo Alley, finishing the new Wyse Way trail between Singletree and Avon, repairing and rerouting Cougar Ridge in Minturn and revitalizing Mesquite Trail near June Creek.
All that and more will be discussed at the VVMBA’s season kick-off party at the Miller Ranch Community Center on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
But first, the VVMBA needs some manpower. Kat Sedillo, vice president of the VVMBA, invites anyone interested in local trails to attend Tuesday’s meeting and learn more about volunteering opportunities.
The truth is, while some trails are built with machines, such as the popular Lee’s Way downhill route in Avon, the majority of the slated trail work will need to be done by hand. The more robust of a volunteer corps, the sooner the trails will be finished, said Sedillo.
“There’s some great support in Eagle for what they’re doing, but we’d love to see more people from the upper Valley communities get engaged,” she said. “Anybody can do it. If you want to get your kids involved, there’s even work that they can help do.”
April 22 is the first slated trail workday of the season. VVMBA will hold weekly workdays, with Wednesday work on Wyse Way in Avon (the new climbing trail across the gulch from Saddleridge trail) every other week, and Thursday work on the Berry Creek rerouting on the alternating weeks.
VVMBA also will get a boost through several grants that make the projects possible. The Valley also will receive help from the Vail Resorts Epic Promise Day, where hundreds of resort volunteers will help restore the Mesquite Trail on Sept. 19. On Oct. 3 and 4, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will provide a group of volunteers to work on Minturn’s Cougar Ridge, which is suffering from erosion and washouts.
A premier trail community
Sedillo hopes that local trail enthusiasts will rally behind the cause, whether they’re bikers, walkers or hikers.
“We want our trails to be the best that it can be for all trail enthusiasts — that’s trail runners, dog walkers and dirt bikers. We just happen to be a bunch of mountain bikers, but having premier trails is a great way to draw people here,” said Sedillo.
She points to other mountain communities that have created a summer economy around their trails network, such as Park City, Utah, and Steamboat Springs, and hopes that the Vail Valley can do the same.
“We feel Vail is behind the eight ball on this compared to communities around us,” she said. “There’s just so much focus on winter recreation here, but it’s a big mantra of ours that summer economic development should a big part of our local community. I think people are beginning to realize that.”