Vail Daily column: What is Adopt A Trail all about?
There is no shortage of trail love in the Vail Valley and Eagle County’s first ever Adopt A Trail program last summer proved that. Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association spearheaded the program and partnered with the U.S. Forest Service early in 2016 to get the ball rolling. The association created a GoFundMe site that collected their operational goal of $50,000 in three short months. With that, the association was able to hire a trail ranger and program coordinator to get things started. In June, there was a lottery, and 30 trails were adopted by local organizations. Those groups of at least four people were asked to attend to that trail for at least two days last season in exchange for having their name displayed as the adopter at the trailhead. No experience was necessary and training was provided. Supervision was also available for all of the teams that wanted the extra help or to better master their new trail maintenance skills. All of the trails last year were on Forest Service land and were located somewhere between the top of Vail Pass and south of Eagle.
The trails were adopted by a variety of Eagle County groups, individuals and businesses. The 2016 teams included Alpine Bank, AXIS Sports Medicine, Colorado Trail Foundation, Cross Training Fitness of Vail, Eagle-Vail Metro District, East West Family of Companies, Edwards Rotary Club, Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Friends of Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, Hardscrabble Trails Coalition, Marriott Streamside, Michael Dunahay & Associates, Moontime Cyclery, Pedal Power, RA Nelson, Shaeffer Hyde Construction, The Singletree Community, Slifer Smith & Frampton, The Kind Bikes and Skis, Town of Minturn, Town of Vail, Vail Club 50, Vail Mountain School, Vail Police Department, Vail Recreation District, Venture Sports, Walking Mountains and Wells Fargo.
Here are the 2016 final statistics:
• Total volunteer hours: 1,302.
• Total volunteers: 416.
• Miles of corridor cleared: 87.
• Trees removed: 88.
• Drainage structures cleared: 499.
• Pounds of trash removed: 134.
• Slashed-in social trails: 64.
• Feet of tread restored: 192.
Trails on Public Lands included
This year’s Adopt A Trail Lottery was held at the Dusty Boot in Beaver Creek on April 10. The biggest change to the program this year is the inclusion of trails that are on other public lands. As a result, trails that are literally in our backyards were up for grabs, including most of the West Avon Preserve and Bureau of Land Management property near Eagle. Because the season has kicked off almost two months earlier this year, teams are being asked to care for their trails at least three days this summer. These trails will benefit from a spring cleaning, summer strengthening and winter preparation. With 30 trails adopted last year, only 11 trails were up for adoption this year. The Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association hopes to have roughly 40 local trails cared for on a regular basis. Each trail adoption only lasts two years. There will likely be some rolling availability every year moving forward.
New Adopt A Trail participants for 2017 are; Double Diamond Ski and Bike Shop, The Dusty Boot, Roadhouse, FORM Attainment Studio, Mountain Pedaler, Say No More! Promotions, Sonnenalp Club, Sonnenalp Hotel, Vail Mountain employees, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, Vail Skinners and Spinners & The Wolffe Tasting House and the Wyse family.
Lee Rimel and Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association have been busy reaching out to our community for financial support for this year’s program. This year’s GoFundMe collection recently passed the $30,000 mark. Adopt A Trail also received a grant from the National Forest Foundation for almost $30,000. The long term goal is to find a sustainable source of funding for the program. If you are interested in supporting the Adopt A Trail program, then the GoFundMe site will remain open throughout the summer and is accessible at http://www.vvmba.org. For more information, email Michelle Wolffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association
The Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization made up of diverse participants who vigorously support the maintenance and construction of sustainable mountain biking and hiking trails throughout Eagle County. We coordinate volunteer trail work, organize events, train volunteer trail crew leaders and contribute its talents, guidance and time to support local land managers in various soft surface trail initiatives. For more information, go to http://www.vvmba.org or follow us on Facebook.