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Trail notes: Alpine approaches done right

Locations: News Published

By Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV)

Trail know-how … 

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As summer temperatures allow for access into the high alpine for backcountry travel, it is important to be aware of the vulnerability of the plant communities that comprise these unique tundra ecosystems. In average years, snowpack holds into late-July, severely limiting the growing season for these hardy yet fragile plants to a window of one to two months. Because of these inhospitable conditions, the flowers and grasses that populate these environments are especially vulnerable to trampling by hikers and pets. Avoid destruction of beautiful and rare alpine plant species by staying on established trails and roads! Where trails are scarce, you can still protect alpine greenery by choosing to tread on more durable surfaces like bare soil, rocks or snow!


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Recent trail work

July 24 and 25: In partnership with the Town of Marble, U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Slow Groovin’ Barbeque, RFOV was thrilled to host numerous dedicated volunteers for two days of projects within or near Marble on the Raspberry Creek Trail, at Beaver Lake and within the historic Marble Mill Site. Despite rainy weather and roadway obstructions on Highway 133, volunteers provided much-needed restoration and trail maintenance work to many of the natural and historic features that make Marble special. Thanks to all who came out!

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July 30: With the support of the U.S. Forest Service, RFOV was pleased to host enthusiastic volunteers from Western Slope Conservation Center for a day of trailwork on the Braderich Trail outside of Redstone. These volunteers traveled over McClure Pass and worked diligently to remove failing rubber drainage structures, to construct new water bars with natural materials and to close social trails. Thanks to Western Slope Conservation Center for all your hard work!

Upcoming trail work

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Aug. 10 and Aug. 17: RFOV, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails (PCOST), US Forest Service and the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA) are thrilled to host volunteers for Tuesday evening trailwork along the Lower Plunge Trail within the Hunter Creek Valley. Volunteers will work with RFOV, PCOST and RFMBA staff from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to reroute and construct approximately three quarters of a mile of trail and decommission a quarter mile of the current trail. This work will help to improve accessibility to both mountain bikers and hikers. We look forward to seeing you out there!

Aug. 7: Along with our partners, U.S. Forest Service, Independence Pass Foundation and Wilderness Workshop, RFOV is excited to host volunteers for a trail rebuild project along the Linkins Lake trail just west of Independence Pass. This trail sees extensive use and has several sections in need of maintenance and repair. Volunteers will work with RFOV staff to build stone steps, maintain and construct water bars and install stepping stones throughout wetland portions of the trail. Join us for work on this beautiful trail!

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Focus on … blue spruce

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Have you ever wondered what Colorado’s state tree is? This honor has been given to the iconic Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), a common conifer tree throughout the state and within the Rocky Mountain region! The Colorado blue spruce is characterized by bluish-green needles with sharp points and cones with papery scales 2.5 to four inches long. These trees grow at elevations of 8,000 to 11,000 feet and are commonly found in wetter, riparian areas. Prized for their beauty as ornamentals, this tree is planted throughout the world and can reach heights of over 75 feet. When you head out for your preferred form of recreation, take a moment to identify and admire our state tree!

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