Volunteers help build valley trail system
EpicPromise in Avon
By the numbers
Feet of trail worked on: 4,000.
Pick mattocks: 26.
Grub hoes: 26.
WILDRIDGE — Trails in the West Avon Preserve are now much closer to having full connectivity thanks to the efforts of 270 workers at Vail Resorts’ volunteer day.
An annual event here in the valley, this year the Vail Resorts work day was part of the company’s new EpicPromise effort, where volunteers aimed to complete 13 trail, habitat or school restoration projects across the U.S. and Jamaica on Saturday.
“Capitalizing on Vail Resorts’ Epic brand, EpicPromise will become an integrated part of the guest experience from its dedicated website, EpicPromise.com, to Ski and Ride School, to on-mountain educational signage,” the company wrote in a press release.
Last year, here in the Vail Valley, the volunteer day was focused around the Duck Pond in Dotsero, where volunteers planted 250 trees along the Eagle River and removed approximately 60 cubic yards of noxious weeds from the open space parcel.
This year, Vail Resorts partnered with the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association and the Eagle Valley Land Trust to work on improving the trail connectivity in West Avon Preserve. The West Avon Preserve is a parcel of open space owned by the town of Avon.
“It was incredible how much got done,” said Avon Mayor Rich Carroll. “We haven’t settled on the name yet, so email me your suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org.”
THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Beaver Creek Environmental Manager Fritz Bratschie, who helped coordinate the effort, said they were able to meet their goal by getting a large portion of the long, climbing trail complete. To do it, organizers dispatched 26 teams to pre-identified sections of the proposed trail area.
“We figured out which sections needed harder work — boulders moved — and which sections needed restoration work in more disturbed areas, which was better for families,” said Bratschie. “So we had work for every caliber of worker, which was definitely important. Everyone got put to work.”
Amassing the tools for all those workers was a tremendous effort. All told, the list included “104 buckets, 52 McLeods, 52 shovels, 26 pick mattocks, 26 Pulaskis, 26 grub hoes, 26 loppers,” said Scott Conklin with the Eagle Valley Land Trust. “We want to thank everyone for their willingness to share their tools and help make this EpicPromise Day a huge success.”
MORE TRAIL WORK TO BE DONE
The tools came from the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association, Eagle Valley Land Trust, the Forest Service, Vail Mountain Trail Crew, Town of Eagle Open Space Department, Eagle-Vail Community Garden, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Jefferson County Open Space and Vail Resorts. Many of the people they went to had never held a tools like those.
“Yes, it was my first time smashing rocks and moving them,” said Kim Arensdorf, who was volunteering alongside Aaron Green with Eagle County Open Space.
The Vail Valley Mountain Biking Association is hopeful that Saturday’s effort will show many first time builders such as Arensdorf how rewarding volunteering on a trail building effort can be.
“Everybody in my crew of 11 hadn’t build trail at all, and they all know now that we’re out here every other Wednesday and this is what we do,” said Guy Sedillo, a trail crew leader with the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association. “Hopefully, if we can get even 2 percent out of this group, that’s a few more people there, and every person helps. We usually get about 200 feet of trail done on any given Wednesday night. Today, with the amount of groups out there, we had the potential to touch about 4,000 feet of the 6,700 total for the trail.”
Saturday was also Carroll’s first time working on a trail crew.
“It definitely won’t be my last, I can tell you that,” he said.
Wildridge resident Casey Wyse, who was volunteering with his brother, Cody, can see the trail from his house.
“Walking down the trail this morning, and coming back this afternoon, was like absolute night and day,” Casey Wyse said.