Amidst challenging circumstances, we’ve had another exceptional year for trails and mountain biking in the Roaring Fork Valley! Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our volunteers, and all of our Annual Members, individual Donors, Business Partners, and granting Foundations.
During 2020, our advocacy, design, and coordination efforts + our highly valued public land manager partnerships resulted in many trail projects including:
The Undie Trail; this new hand-built (and hand-carved, with in-sloped berms, doubles, and cross-overs!) 6 mile long trail connects the Prince Creek area to the immense views at the very top of the BLM’s Crown SRMA area and sets the stage for future trails that complement climbing and descending from both sides of the mountain.
New Castle Trails’ eastern expansion of the BLM trail system, to be named the Highlands Area includes ~6 miles of new trails, with a couple of more miles to be completed next season. Including directional climbing and descending routes in complicated and beautiful terrain, the mix of hand-built technical and machine carved flow trails will keep locals smiling and visitors venturing out to find Faye’s Fury, Tuck and Roll, Salle Key, Dante’s Peak, and Uncle Joey’s.
Our RAMBO friends in Rifle broke ground on the new Grand Hogback Trails at the Rifle Arch. With 4+ miles constructed this fall, and funding coming together for the additional 15 miles of approved trails, this bike-optimized trail network will soon be on the list for all RF riders to explore, especially during the spring and fall seasons.
Snowmass Bike Park continued its plan to offer the best possible gravity scene on the western slope, with new green, blue, and black difficulty level trails that make it a real challenge to ride the full system in one go… the result: time to get a season pass and plan to visit all season long!
In addition to seeing new trails built, RFMBA has continued to work on planning future trails where most appropriate, investing in design and study of the BLM’s Crown, the future access trail for Sutey Ranch to connect to the backside of Red Hill, detailed planning for the Lookout Mt. Area east of Glenwood Springs, all this while keeping more trail opportunities on our radar for the Aspen and New Castle areas.
2020 Accomplishments: Trail Crew, Trail Agents, Volunteers, and Youth Corps crews
RFMBA’s programs focused on maintaining, sustaining, and improving the existing trail network in the Roaring Fork Valley totaled over 10,148 hours in 2020.
1. RFMBA’s Seasonal Trail Crew Program hires, trains and manages seasonal staff to perform basic trail maintenance, improve trails and trailheads, and in limited cases, assist with new trail build projects. The crew’s program of work focuses broadly on high-use front country trails and remote backcountry trails open to mountain bikes. During 2020, the crew size ranged from 2 to 5 members from May through October. Huge thanks and appreciation for epic efforts out on our trails goes to our second year crew leader Chad Smith, returning crew members Spencer Ellsperman and Sam Blakeslee, as well as new crew members Sophia Jacober and Jack Boyd! Seasonal Trail Crew Program, total hours: 3,401 hours
2. RFMBA’s Trail Agent Program trains and empowers volunteers to perform basic trail maintenance on their own time, with tasks and time reported through our online reporting systems. The training program was developed as part of Volunteer Outdoor Colorado’s Outdoor Stewardship Institute, and their Guide to Independent Stewardship for Trails. RFMBA intends to direct additional resources towards the program in coming years, increasing training opportunities and overall volunteer efforts dedicated to maintaining existing trails.
Trail Agent Program, total hours reported through Unself, via email, and more recently via Trailforks.com: 508 hours. Trails maintained include 263 hours on BLM trails & 223 hours on WRNF trails.
3. RFMBA schedules, promotes, and manages public volunteer projects for approved trail construction projects, open space clean-up efforts, and bike park maintenance projects. Additionally, RFMBA is pleased to partner with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers throughout the summer season by helping to select and promote public projects that improve trails open to bikes. In addition, we typically manage our Volunteer Incentive Bike Giveaway Program that awards a lucky volunteer with a new full suspension mountain bike… but this program was on a hiatus during 2020. The following projects were promoted and coordinated by RFMBA & New Castle Trails, totaling 2,327 volunteer hours:
Undie trail build, BLM Crown SRMA: 1,273 volunteer hours.
New Castle 2020 Trails Projects, BLM New Castle ERMA: 1,030 hours
VIX Bike Park, Skill Loop Maintenance, Town of New Castle: 24 hours
4. RFMBA and New Castle Trails engaged with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crews for 3,680 hours of time dedicated to BLM trail construction projects, as follows.
During summer 2020, RFMBA secured funding to contract and manage 5 weeks of Rocky Mt. Youth Corp (RMYC) crews to construct the Undie Trail on the BLM’s Crown SRMA. Each week a crew of 10 worked 40 hours each, resulting in 400 hours per week for the 5 weeks, 2,000 hours in total. In addition, RMYC directed a crew of ~20 members towards the project for 3 days for training purposes, for an additional 480 hours. RFMBA staff and volunteers worked with RMYC to achieve efficient and high quality results. This resulted in 2,480 total hours for the project.
Also during summer 2020, RFMBA’s New Castle Trails Committee secured in-kind support from Garfield County for 3 weeks of Rocky Mt. Youth Corp (RMYC) crews to construct hand built trails on the BLM’s New Castle ERMA. Each week a crew of 10 worked 40 hours each, resulting in 400 hours per week for the 3 weeks, 1,200 hours in total. This work was overseen and led by a professional trail contractor hired to ensure high quality results. 1,200 total hours for this project.
All of these 2020 efforts were managed and promoted, with funding secured by RFMBA’s volunteer board members, full time Executive Director, and part time Outreach Coordinator.
As we continue working on 2021+ trail programs & initiatives, we encourage you to consider how you can contribute your time and support towards our efforts to create and sustain the best possible mountain bike trail system and experiences in our region!