In the Field: Week 3

My apologies for the late update this week! I spent much of my weekend out in the field catching up with the crews. Hope you enjoy this weeks updates from the field!

The first half of week 3 brought the Kawuneeche Crew over Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park. We helped the Projects crew build a set of stairs at a bus shelter on Bear Lake Rd, and cut and paint stairs from lumber for the mess hall at Lake Irene. Moose count for the morning commute from the west side of Trail Ridge: 7! Wildlife jam count made by tourists gawking at elk in the afternoon commute from Estes: 4. We assembled the logs for the stairs after they were cut by chainsaw, screwing them together, then securing them to each other and to the slope with pieces of 2 foot rebar, then filled them in with dirt. It was a satisfying and much-needed set of steps for this trafficked, eroding hill at the beginning of a trail that connects the bus shelter to the stock trail used by horses and hikers.

The second half of the week brought the crew to Lake Irene, to begin the roofing rehab process. Wednesday was spent removing the cedar shingles with roofing shovels, from the scaffolding and from chicken boards placed 1/3 and 2/3 the way up the roof to reach the top. We also installed the set of lumber stairs we had cut on Monday, for the backside of the mess hall. We also started attaching the new cedar shingles on the first side of the roof, using chalk line to mark a straight edge, and nail guns. Then the crew headed back down the mountain for family dinner of pita pizzas, a delicious way to make your own personal pizza because you can stuff the crust AND pile the toppings on top of the pita pocket. Thursday was more de-shingling of side 2 of the roof, which Geoff got to help out with, and adding more layers of shingles to side 1. We celebrated the end of a successful week with a trip over to Winter Park for their weekly free outdoor music concert!

Single-jacking rebar into log steps on Monday

Single-jacking rebar into log steps on Monday

Stair installation on Bear Lake Road

Stair installation on Bear Lake Road

The finished steps

The finished steps

Removing old shingles from the chicken board at Lake Irene

Removing old shingles from the chicken board at Lake Irene

New teps at Lake Irene Mess Hall

New teps at Lake Irene Mess Hall

Deshingling the Lake Irene CCC Mess Hall

Deshingling the Lake Irene CCC Mess Hall

– Margaret Johnson (Kawuneeche Crew Leader)

After another week of shoveling, picking, and hauling, the members of the Boulder Crew are lounging in Nederland’s finest coffee shops for some well-deserved rest. Reflecting back on the previous week, we accomplished more than expected. While our main projects include improving drains, we also reset culverts, trimmed trees, cleared trails. The biggest project we are working on is a 35ft boardwalk, set to span over a series of drains. This type of work requires a lot of communication and collaboration, as it’s impossible for one crew member to lift a 2000lb log on their own. Through this work, we have become stronger as a group, and more prepared for the obstacles that trail work inevitably brings.

The Boulder Crew slightly stands out due to our unique living conditions. We currently reside in small campground, right outside of the city of Nederland. The center of our site contains a large, yellow tarp, strung between two trees, to shelter our picnic table from the Colorado elements. We fondly refer to this area as the dining room. The rest of our homely abode has earned names as well. Our living room is the campfire ring, our tents the bedrooms, and the trailer is dutifully our kitchen. After three weeks of living here, we have become quite fond of our open home. It has undoubtedly brought us closer together. Plus, there’s something to be said about sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sound of chirping birds. While the rain can be bothersome and mosquitos the worst of pests, we conquer trails with optimism, knowing we wouldn’t trade our camp for anything else.

– Annie Makuch (Boulder Crew Member)

This week the Rawah Crew worked on the Big South Trail, McIntyre trail and assisted the Stub Creek Volunteers with raising the American Flag in front of the Ranger Station. The crew was very excited upon receiving their crosscut saw on Monday and cleared 5 fallen trees off the McIntyre trail, in addition to improving a 50 foot washed out section of trail. On Tuesday, the Crew headed out on their first backcountry hitch on the Big South trail. During the two night, three day hitch, 7 miles of trail were maintained. After an exhausting yet satisfying week, the crew repaired over 200 drains, cleared 3 fallen trees and removed 300 feet of berm on the Big South Trail.

Courtney and Gus clearing downed trees on Big South Trail

Courtney and Gus clearing downed trees on Big South Trail

Rawah Crew hiking out after backcountry hitch on Big South Trail

Rawah Crew hiking out after backcountry hitch on Big South Trail

New flag pole at Stub Creek Bunkhouse

New flag pole at Stub Creek Bunkhouse

Johnny on the crosscut

Johnny on the crosscut

– Johnny Iglesias (Rawah Crew Member)

Early Monday morning we headed out to the Lady Moon trail head directly across the street from the Mt. Margaret trail head we worked on last week and only five minutes or so from our bunk house. There we met Geoff who was to work with us for the day and together we took approximately two steps on the trail before being met with the worst kind of slimy black muck that sucked you in to your ankles. The trail was a wreck for nearly 400 feet with standing water, mud and more mud. As the trail went through cattle range land it clearly had been used by ranchers for vehicle access as evident by the deep wheel wells cutting through the grass and grime. Just to the left of the trail a social trail had been formed on high ground which appeared to be a much nicer route to pass over the wet spots. But it was directly under some power lines and was not a designated trail so we had no choice but to try and fix the actual trail.

It called for another turnpike, adding to the ones we had already completed at Mt. Margret, but this would be the longest one yet by a long shot. Several of us began putting in drains to try and clear out some of the standing water while the others collected baseball sized rocks to start the turnpike. When all the smaller rocks had been exhausted from the slopes we began smashing larger rocks against bedrock to make our own. It was slow, tedious, and draining work. Come noon Monday Geoff actually ended up going to the Ace Hardware in Red Feather to buy us a sledge hammer as we were not supplied one by the forest service. After that the work went quite a bit farther and by the end of the day we had about 10 feet of turnpike completed and more than double that graveled.

The rest of the week proceeded in much the same way with Tuesday being devoted exclusively to collecting rocks, smashing rocks, and moving them on to the turnpike. We didn’t leave sight of the parking lot the entire week and the work was highly repetitive and strenuous and I had my doubts that we would be able to finish the entire turnpike but by Thursday afternoon 360 feet of dry trail rose from the standing water. It was a lot of work and very tiring at times but what we did was most certainly a feat to be proud of.

Making use of the new double-jack

Making use of the new double-jack

Lady Moon Trail Before

Lady Moon Trail Before

Lady Moon Trail During

Lady Moon Trail During

Completed turnpike section

Completed turnpike section

Crew carrying gravel to turnpike

Crew carrying gravel to turnpike

Lady Moon Trail After

Lady Moon Trail After

– Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

The third week out Shadow Mountain Crew was at it again, cross cutting the remainder of the unmaintained section of the CDT. We were once again boated across Lake Granby to McDonald Cove to attack the dead trees on the western side of the Knight Ridge Trail. After finishing the job earlier than we expected on the second day, we took a rinse in the lake and watched as two hikers exited the (now) maintained trail. Following our cold swim, we devoured a celebratory dinner provided by crew member, Amy. Warm and worcestershire flavored bowls of gumbo were cooked over camp stoves, the perfect meal for heating our sore sawing muscles. After coming to decisions that our goals for Knight Ridge were fully accomplished, we discussed further plans to head up the Roaring Fork trail. We hiked out the next morning of McDonald Cove to the Roaring Fork trail head, where we quickly packed our packs for one night in the backcountry. Saturday was spent with our Manager, Geoff. While clearing trail up to Watanga Lake we ran into a few blown out bridges, where we needed to collaborate together to get across the river somehow, to continue work. This week had been crammed with different projects to complete, however we were able to accomplish much more than expected and we all felt great about it! We are now ready to enjoy some time off and prepare for our Fourth of July backcountry patrols! Thanks for reading, this is Shadow!

Amy cooks Gumbo for the crew

Amy cooks Gumbo for the crew

Completed Knight Ridge work

Completed Knight Ridge work

Knight Ridge before

Knight Ridge before

Rachel, Jordan, and Megellen after Knight Ridge

Rachel, Jordan, and Megellen after Knight Ridge

Elias and Blake pump water for a long day of work

Elias and Blake pump water for a long day of work

Lunch at Watanga Lake

Lunch at Watanga Lake

– Megellen Kimmett (Shadow Mountain Crew Leader)

This week, Andrea, was the Estes Crew assistant leader of the week, where she was in charge of the radio, driving the work truck to the trailheads, and helping to cut many of the trees with the crosscut.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we maintained the Lawn lake lake trail, a 14 mile trail. Monday we cleared trees and dug drains to Lawn lake, then hiking out in the afternoon. Tuesday we hiked up 6 miles to the lawn lake junction where we begun clearing trees and drains on the Black Canyon Trail, to Lumpy Ridge. We hiked 25 miles those first two days.

Wednesday and Thursday we were back at Cow Creek Trail Head working with the pack Lamas retreading the trail and putting in Log checks.

The crew also stayed very busy this weekend as well, going on hikes, fishing, tubing in Moraine Park, and Jeremy even took a class through the Conservancy, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains.

Cow Creek Trail Before

Cow Creek Trail Before

Cow Creek Trail During

Cow Creek Trail During

Cow Creek Trail After

Cow Creek Trail After

Bryce teaches a geology lesson to the crew

Bryce teaches a geology lesson to the crew

Resting for lunch at Lawn Lake

Resting for lunch at Lawn Lake

– Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

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RMC-CC in the News

Unexpectedly, the Boulder Crew found themselves enjoying the summit of Twin Sister in Rocky Mountain National Park with a reporter from the Coloradoan, a Fort Collins based publication. Check out the overview and the photos that came from the trip by following the link below:

Coloradoan’s Twin Sisters Recap

In the Field: Week 2 (Part Two)

The Shadow Mountain Crew rode across Granby Lake in a USFS boat to pitch camp at Rocky Point for their second week of work. We spent the past week clearing the Knight Ridge Trail, a part of the Continental Divide Trail that has been unmaintained for the past ten years. A microburst storm hit in 2011 and blew out about 1500 trees that were dead due to the mountain pine beetle. The Knight Ridge Trail is a part of wilderness, therefore chainsaws and power tools are strictly forbidden. The crew cleared just about 600 of those trees this past week, working in teams of three with crosscut saws. The ridge was such a disaster that trail had to be rerouted at times. We never could have imagined something so horrendous, it felt like a life size game of pick up sticks where we were constantly problem solving. The first day we were swamped with thunderstorms and hail, however worked our way carefully watching the storms to continue the start of our huge project. The next few days continued to be sunny and hot, allowing us to look forward to a swim in the lake at the end of the work day. Our last night out a wind storm hit as we were cooking dinner and we heard even more trees being blown over. The next morning we started our day and counted 30 new trees down on trail we had already cleared! However, it was surreal to have two through hikers pass by us on our final day, they were the only hikers we saw all week and their appreciation for all our work was incredibly rewarding! Our cross cutting is seeing some awesome improvement! This is Shadow, until next time!

Making plan of attack atop the Ridge.

Making plan of attack atop the Ridge.

Can you see the trail?

Can you see the trail?

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This last week of work the Red Feather Crew really jumped into it after having two weeks of training we finally were able to get out on to the trail and get some work done. We started with building our first turnpike 30 feet from the Mt. Margret Trailhead.

These are elevated portions of trail that have usually been so saturated with water that it is difficult for people to pass through. This meant finding several rocks we could place as boarders around the new trail, flat rocks to fill the center of the trail, gravel and a ton of dirt to make it look like a normal trail. Little did we know at the time that this is what would consume our time for the rest of the week.

We would eventually build a total of  four turnpikes, a 10 foot one, two 15 footers and the grand turnpike. One that ended up being 90 feet long!

Along with building these turnpikes we built 20 check dams and 10 water bars. This week we will be working on the Lady Moon trail doing a lot of water work.

Til next week this is Red Feathers weekly update, live long and prosper.

Damaged section of Mount Margaret Trail before turnpike construction.

Completed turnpike on Mount Margaret Trail

Completed turnpike on Mount Margaret Trail

In the Field: Week 2 (Part One)

This week the Estes Crew had the opportunity to work on a special trails project with the NPS. On Tuesday there was a helicopter operation for transporting three 2000+ lbs metal support beams and 8 bundles of native wood to build and repair bridges backcountry on the trails. We were fortunate enough to help with this process as we were road and trail guards. On Wednesday we performed a maintence run to Pear Lake, a 12 mile loop, where over 11 trees were cut from the trail. On Thursday the week concluded by working near the Cow Creek Trailhead using pack llamas to help transport rocks and dirt up the trail to repair tread and eroded areas. .

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Cow Creek Trail before tread work

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Cow Creek Trail with new tread

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Estes Crew near Pear Lake

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Andrea, Miranda, and Chandler working with Cargo, Pinch, and Romeo, the Trails’ Llamas

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Miranda clearing out a downed tree near Pear Lake

This week the Kawuneeche Crew, geared up with their tool belts and buckets and began their restoration work on two historic structures in RMNP, the CCC mess hall at Lake Irene and the Little Buckaroo Barn in the Kawuneeche Valley. On Monday, Logan, Joseph and Dhante worked at Lake Irene with another crew of volunteers from the National Smokejumpers Association, removing 46 rotted rafter tails from the roof of the mess hall, and measuring new tails from fresh logs after stripping their bark off. Kristina, Jenna and Margaret worked on the Little Buckaroo Barn, hauling in and setting up scaffolding and removing the shingles and the end of the roof sheeting to expose the rafters. The barn is situated in a proposed wilderness area, so no power tools or motorized vehicles are permitted beyond the parking area, about a quarter mile from the barn. This means we carry in all tools and materials, and use hand tools like good old-fashioned hand drills, saws, and hammers! Kristina had some lovely thoughts on the concept of working in wilderness:

“After meeting with the wilderness coordinator at the Projects Division headquarters, I couldn’t help but think about the meaning of the word ‘wilderness’. From what the coordinator said, I gathered that from a political standpoint, wilderness is a region being returned to its natural state of being. When I think of this labeling, I can’t help but reconsider the meaning behind this. Specifically the actual ‘returning’ of the land to its natural state. As in, we as the human race have eliminated so much of our true natural wilderness that we are forced to take what we have manufactured and revert it back to a native state. This is a critical point of understanding the creation of all our national parks. They are indeed created lands for the wilderness experience. This is a wildly beneficial uptaking, which many of America’s citizens adore and appreciate, but it is also important for people to understand that the idea of a pure, untouched wilderness is nonexistent and romanticized greatly. The truth of the matter is that our ‘wilderness’ has been settled, used and abused by many people before us. Think of Moraine Park, a beautiful meadow that once contained a nine hole golf course. Or our project this summer, the Little Buckaroo Barn. The structure was on a ranch in the land that is now Rocky Mountain National Park. I believe it is important to maintain this building to above all else remind people that our ‘wilderness’ is the result of years of civilization, and then a conscious decision to bring the lands back to a natural state of being. Or to simply show there is a need to keep what protected lands we do have as close to their natural state of growth and development as we possibly can. We can therefore avoid causing the same invasion on naturally occurring lands as our ancestors practiced in our nation’s history. For me, the Little Buckaroo Barn serves as a symbol for the need to protect these newly created wilderness regions. I am proud to be working on such a great reminder of our nation’s environmental history for the public.”

Tuesday our groups of 3 switched places, with Jenna Margaret and Kris attaching the new rafters with fiberglass rebar and Epoxy to the CCC Mess Hall. The Mess Hall work moves a little faster with the help of power drills and chainsaws, but there’s nothing like using your own brawn to saw and drill, as Joseph, Dhante and Logan learned at the barn. Wednesday and Thursday the crew was reunited, all working on de-shingling the barn and replacing rotted siding boards. Wednesday night for crew dinner, Margaret taught the crew how to make quiche with homemade pie crust! To finish off the week, some of the crew hiked into the gorgeous Never Summer Wilderness, up to the Grand Ditch.

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Little Buckaroo Barn work in Kawuneeche Valley

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Little Buckaroo Barn work in Kawuneeche Valley

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

Working to replace the rafter tails at the Little Buckaroo Barn

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

CCC Mess Hall work at Lake Irene

The Rawah Crew hit the trails hard this week clearing 45 trees and 154 drains on the Lower McIntyre and Link trails, and all the way to Blue Lake and Zimmerman Lake. Our first two days were spent on the McIntyre Trail where a portion of our time was spent repairing a large flooded out area of the trail. The crew built a 30 ft long rock wall blocking the flow of Stub Creek from rutting out the trail further. The next day we headed south to work on the Blue Lake Trail. Focusing on clearing trees at the beginning of our day, we were rewarded with an awesome view of the Mummy Range in RMNP once we reached Blue Lake to rest and eat lunch. On Thursday, we started the day on the short Zimmerman Lake trail and then spent the rest of the day clearing tons of hazard trees from the Link Trail. We only got a mile and a half up the trail and cleared at least 30 trees! We are excited to receive our crosscut next week and can’t wait for the snow to melt so we can work and explore the Rawah Lakes at higher elevations!

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Rawah Crew at Blue Lake

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The Boulder Crew received a taste of trail success during week number two of our conservation work. Our Forest Service supervisors of the Boulder Ranger District directed our team of young conservationists on trail projects in two beautiful and diverse locations in the Roosevelt National Forest. Our week started bright and early at the Buchanan Pass Trail as we started construction of a turnpike extension over heavily used and poorly drained soil. A turnpike in trail terms is an elevated tread way that is arched so that water drains off the surface an into a trench dug to the side of the sidewalls. This was a tiring yet rewarding project that proved Boulder’s dedication to improving our public trails and working as a team of land stewards. We had a break from the turnpike on our third day of work as we laced up our boots and completed a day of maintenance to the Lost Lake campsites, where we removed unnecessary fire rings that scarred the earth and increased forest fire probability. This day also consisted of removing hazardous dead trees over the trail and fire rings that posed a threat in riparian zones around the lake. On Friday we could see our turnpike come together to look like a an effective trail feature, something we are all so proud of! This week let us better understand our growing appetites, typical of a trail worker after a long day of improvements, and has left us hungry for more conservation work this summer season!

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Buchannan Pass Trail before turnpike

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Buchanan Pass Trail after turnpike construction.

 

In the Field: Week 1 (Part Two)

After having to head out to the Shadow Mountain Village a day early, the Shadow Mountain Crew met with their Forest Service supervisor, Andy Borek to discuss safety and logistics for the summer to get the ball rolling for the first week of work. The crew was lucky enough to start exploring around their new home in Grand Lake. The weekend was fully enjoyed with a snowy hike in the Park up Red Mountain Trail followed by an afternoon on the water of Grand Lake. Testing frigid temperatures of the water, the crew took their first dip of the summer! Work began Tuesday with some crosscut training which continued through Wednesday. After our first meeting with the crew that will be joining Shadow Mountain for the Knight Ridge backcountry trip this upcoming week, everyone was feeling very excited to put their crosscut classroom training into full force in the field! Thursday was the first day on trail. We got our hands on the saw and bucked about 15 trees and cleared drains in and around Monarch Lake. We wrapped up the week with the completion of a buck & rail fence to prevent the public from driving across the meadow around Elk Meadow Trailhead. The crew finished up the day with a fun relay to bust in the last few pins to complete the fence! We are loving every second of our summer thus far, and extremely looking forward to a backcountry trip next week to clear trees from part of the CDT that has been unmaintained for quite some time! We will definitely start to feel even more confident in our sawing skills! This is Shadow Crew, until next time!

Putting their Crosscut Skills to work near Monarch Lake

Putting their Crosscut Skills to work near Monarch Lake

Completed Buck & Rail Fence at Elk Meadow

Completed Buck & Rail Fence at Elk Meadow

Shadow Mountain Crew on the Red Mountain Trail

Shadow Mountain Crew on the Red Mountain Trail

-MegEllen Kimmett (Shadow Mountain Crew Leader)

This week the Kawuneeche Crew completed a lot of training and small work projects with the special projects crew in RMNP to learn how the maintenance shop operates before we begin our big project on Little Buckaroo Barn. We attended a seasonal employee training meeting with other park service employees, park interns and volunteers to learn about what is going on in the park this season, and training for using the radio, basic work safety, and on working in a wilderness area.

Tuesday the crew headed up to Lake Irene where the Civilian Conservation Corps mess hall was built in 1926 for the crew helping to build Trail Ridge Road. The building will be getting a new roof and new rafter tails to preserve the integrity of the structure, but first we had to dig it out of 6 feet of snow in order to put up scaffolding. Shoveling snow in June was so much fun we finished the work they had planned would take us 2 days in one morning. So on Thursday, after another day of training in the classroom, we headed over to the east side of the park to do some maintenance work in their projects shop. Dhante, Joseph and Margaret also got fitted for respirator masks this week, which will be used when we clear out the inside of the barn, which has had lots of critters running around making messes in it.

Enjoying the sunshine atop the snow at Lake Irene

Enjoying the sunshine atop the snow at Lake Irene

Kawuneeche Crew working to clear snow at Lake Irene

Kawuneeche Crew working to clear snow at Lake Irene

Refinishing some picnic tables in the Project Shop

Refinishing some picnic tables in the Project Shop

-Margaret Johnson (Shadow Mountain Crew Leader)

In the Field: Week 1 (Part One)

By the end of the day yesterday, all of the crews had finished their first week in the field, and with that comes our first round of updates!

The Estes Crew started off the season by hitting the ground running. Staying mainly in the Wild Basin area of the park, they performed maintenance runs on trails including Lookout Mountain Trail (Meeker Park area), Sandbeach Lake trail, the many offshoots of Confusion Junction (Finch Lake Trailhead to Calypso Cascades) and finally the lower Longs Peak Trail to Eugenia Mine and the base of Estes Cone. At weeks end, Estes Crew, consisting of Andrea, Bryce, Chandler, Derek, Jeremy and Miranda, accompanied by their two NPS leaders Dave and Matt, covered 29 miles of trails, as well as clearing 16 trees from the trail using crosscut saw.

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  • Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

The Boulder Crew’s summer is off to a great start. After a long weekend spent hiking, climbing, and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park, we packed up on Wednesday morning and made the rainy drive from Estes Park to Nederland, our home for the summer. After meeting our Forest Service supervisors Michael, Paul, and Cait, we moved into the Kelly Dahl campsite and assembled an epic network of tents, tarps, and a trailer to ensure that our stay in Ned is as comfortable as possible. On Thursday, we had an introductory trailwork day on the Buchanan Pass Trail near the Peaceful Valley campground and practiced digging drains, dips, and removing dirt berms. Friday was spent largely at the USFS Boulder Ranger District headquarters in Boulder, where we assembled tents and prepared for a training session with the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, a volunteer organization dedicated to protecting the Indian Peaks Wilderness. After finishing up at headquarters we drove to the Forsyth Canyon Trailhead and spent the afternoon improving the trail down to Gross Reservoir. Finally, on Saturday, we returned to headquarters and received wilderness ranger training from the IPWA. We love it here in Ned, and cannot wait to start seriously hitting the trails next week!

Boulder Crew on twin Sisters

Boulder Crew on Twin Sisters overlooking Longs Peak

  • Reid Grinspoon (Boulder Crew Leader)

This week both Red Feather and Rawah crews trained with our Canyon Lakes Ranger District correspondent Fred Tighe. Both crews were lucky to get the opportunity to work together allowing everyone to learn and get to know each other even better than during our first week.
This week entailed learning about trail maintainance and also having everyone learn and receive a crosscut certification, passing with flying colors!

The one day we were able to go out on the trail we were worked on building check dams and drains in the Mt. Margret Trail. These are both very important features to be built into the trail due to the fact that it had seen much erosion because of a lot of run off and a lack of  maintenance for several years. Between both crews we were able to install 22 rock checks and four additional drains in a mile span of trail. Also, in two days of crosscut training both crews collectively cut 36 fallen trees to practice clearing a trail corridor.

Until next time this is Redwah crew have a great week!

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  • Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

Stay tuned for Part Two with updates from the Shadow Mountain and Kawuneeche Crews on the westside.

And They’re Off!

After a busy week of training, orientation, and educational activities the crews have flown the coop to their respective workcenters, bunkhouses, and campgrounds. With everyone out in the field, its time to recap orientation week.

The week started out with everyone arriving and settling into Moraine Park Campground. After a day of logistic, paperwork, and gear distribution, all crews dove right into the training activities. It started with First-Aid/CPR training from the National Park Service. For those already trained, we got out into the field to help clarify the trail to the William Allen White Cabin and clean up at Glacier Basin Campground Amphitheater.

RMC-CC Members work on the trail leading to the William Allen White Cabin

RMC-CC Members work on the trail leading to the William Allen White Cabin

RMC-CC Members above Moraine Park

RMC-CC Members above Moraine Park

The next morning brought everyone back to the Field Institute to prepare for driving agency vehicles with the USDA Forest Service leading a Defensive Driver training. Before the USFS employees arrived we were able to get in a quick icebreaker to warm up for the day. In the afternoon, the crew leaders took the helm and instructed their crews on LNT practices, back-country essentials, environmental hazards, and workplace safety.

A Morning Ninja

A Morning Game of Ninja

Reid, Boulder Crew Leader, teaches everyone how to pack and pack.

Reid, Boulder Crew Leader, teaches everyone how to pack and pack.

On Thursday, we were all with the National Park Service trails staff learning about trail tools and basic maintenance tasks. With thirty-six of us on the trail, it called for a lot of tools and, in turn, a large tool cache during lunch. To finish up the training, the crews spent time on the popular Lawn Lake Trail learning about drainage structures on trails and how to maintain them.

Lunchtime tool line during Trails 101 day.

Lunchtime tool line during Trails 101 day.

RMC-CC crew member, Galen demonstrates how to dig and maintain drainages on trails.

Galen, Red Feather crew member, demonstrates how to dig and maintain drainages on trails.

On Friday, the crews spent the day with local historian, Jim Pickering, to learn the ins-and-outs of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Parks development and establishment.

RMC-CC learns about the history of the region from Jim Pickering

RMC-CC learns about the history of the region from Jim Pickering

Saturday was National Trails Day! What better way to send the crews out into the field than a volunteer project with the National Park Service, Conservancy staff, and members. We spent the day benching, clarifying corridor, and repairing/installing log checks on a trail leading out from Upper Beaver Meadows.

Kawuneeche Crew Leader, Margaret, installs a log check on National Trails Day

Margaret, Kawuneeche Crew Leader, installs a log check on National Trails Day

RMC-CC crew member, Gus, collects duff to clarify trail corridor.

Gus, Rawah Crew Member, collects duff to clarify trail corridor.

RMC-CC's National Trails Day celebration with Conservancy Members.

RMC-CC’s National Trails Day celebration with Conservancy Members.

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: Before

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: Before

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: After

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: After