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Youth Corps and Horse Council team up to clean trail

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Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council
Special to The Sopris Sun

June 11 to 16, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) partnered with the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council (RFVHC) for a five-day trails improvement project. Trail management teams from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Forest Service and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails (PCOST) joined the RFVHC to maintain and improve some of the Valley’s most important hiking and horseback trails. Susan Cuseo, RFVHC trails chair, acted as the RFVHC host. 

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Sutey Ranch 

The RFVHC’s engagement at Sutey Ranch has been very successful. “We asked Garfield County commissioners that Sutey Ranch be one place where we can ride horses without the fear and anxiety caused by fast moving mountain bikes,” said Holly McLain, an RFVHC board member.  “We want to continue our efforts to provide peaceful trail experiences for hikers and horseback riders. Beautiful Sutey Ranch is an example of bike free recreation that works.”

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Barbed wire can be dangerous for trail users. In two days, RMYC removed about two miles of wire, and 140 t-posts along a half-mile stretch on the Sutey Ranch and BLM land project. The team removed at least 800 pounds of metal. Thank you to BLM Trails Specialist Nils Morlind for his leadership.

Crystal Valley

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The RMYC met with Forest Service Trails Specialist Seth Hannula for work on the Perham Trail. The trail is fairly steep for the first half of a mile, then moderate to the top of the ridge which offers a unique view of Mount Sopris. 

The steep sections were widened for safety. Take it from Hannula, who said, “The crew was great, and put in some hard work on widening the trail on steeper sections — fun, great attitudes and a pleasure to work with. We appreciate the day of work!”

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Crown Mountain

At the top of Crown Mountain, at the Crown Jewel Horse Trail, the RMYC crew did some general trail maintenance, cleared overhanging branches and repaired gates.  This trail is a peaceful respite without mountain bikes, and is enjoyed as a loop or as an approximately 10-mile journey from the Divide Parking Lot at the top of Prince Creek Road, leading to the Crown Jewel Horse Trail, connecting to the Glassier Equestrian Trail, then on to the Glassier Parking Lot at Hooks Spur Lane. This trail is not to be missed for hikers and equestrians. RFVHC strives to provide hiker and horseback only designated trails and we are very proud of the results.

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Light Hill Trail

RFVHC partnered with PCOST to have RMYC clear a path from the Rio Grande Trail, near the Emma Schoolhouse, to access the Light Hill Trail. Signage is needed to point Rio Grande trail hikers and horseback riders to this path and to the small bridge crossing of the “Home Supply Ditch” on Two Roots Farm’s property. The signage will direct trail users onward toward Basalt High School at the trail’s end. Thank you to Harper Kaufman of Two Roots Farm for allowing access to clear this connection path. The RFVHC suggests improvements be made on Light Hill’s steep section to make the trail more user friendly in the future.

In conclusion

“The Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council had only 11 days to put this opportunity together and coordinate all of the land management teams for scheduling and to oversee the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps work. We’d like to thank everyone we worked with, and especially our membership who encourages us daily and donates funding to keep horses on trails and horses on our landscapes. We couldn’t do this work without our members’ support,” said Karin Reid Offield, RFVHC’s president. 

Tags: #Roaring Fork Horse Council #Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
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