In the Field: Week 5 (Part One)

After Education Week, the crews are right back in the field, hard at work, preserving and conserving the natural resources of Northern Colorado. Check out the updates below from each crew’s week!

This week, the Estes Crew worked with the National Park Service revegetation crew at Tuxedo Park on Bear Lake road. After the construction of a shuttle us stop, there was a large disturbed area. On Monday, we pulled all of the cheat grass and pennycress, both invasive species, from the area and laid down a layer of good soil. We then planted plants such as rose bushes, shrubby cinqfoils, yarrow and a variety of native grasses. On Tuesday, we worked with a group of volunteers from Costa Rica, who were here because Rocky Mountain National Park and Sana Elana Cloud Forest, where they are from, share many migratory bird species. It was interesting to learn about their culture and how our ecosystems in our respective parts of the world share many similarities and differences.

On Thursday, Geoff came to help us plant for half the day, then attended a Round Table discussion for the Natural Resources division with us. The discussion was about shifting paradigms and seeing things from a different perspective. It was interesting to see the viewpoints on career advancement and conservation from a variety of people with a wide range of experience working in Rocky Mountain National Park. Overall, it was a fantastic week and we aided in planting 4,668 plants at Tuxedo Park.

Andrea giving some young visitors a hands-on lesson in restoration

Andrea giving some young visitors a hands-on lesson in restoration

Jeremy teaching the crew and NPS staff about edible and medicinal plants

Jeremy teaching the crew and NPS staff about edible and medicinal plants

The crew working as a team to plant native plants

The crew working as a team to plant native plants

-Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

It was a busy week for the Kawuneeche Crew, we finished the roof of the mess hall at lake Irene, and moved on down the valley to the Little Buckaroo Barn. There is a lot to do there, but we’re starting with laying out tar paper and plywood on the roof, which is installed before placing the asphalt shingles. We also replaced some of the rotten siding boards with new ones and reset the original siding boards we had removed when repairing the rafter tails earlier. With the lower roof’s rafter tails finished, we moved to the upper roof and took off the first layer of sheeting board and upper siding to saw off the rafter tails. We then cut and measured new tails and prepared them to be drilled into the existing rafter base. Joe, Dhante and Margaret got to start using their respirators and super suits at the barn this week as well, spraying a bleach solution over the hay loft and the ground floor to neutralize the hantavirus that could be lurking there. Overall, a few more splinters, a few more mosquito bites, and a lot more work completed this week!

The crew in their PPE for the Little Buckaroo Barn

The crew in their PPE for the Little Buckaroo Barn

Nearly finished with the roof at Lake Irene

Nearly finished with the roof at Lake Irene

– Margaret Johnson (Kawuneeche Crew Leader)

This last week of work was quite the doozy with the Red Feather Crew hiking nearly 40 miles in 4 days. Everyone thought it was a nice change of pace though as we got to stop building turnpikes and start some trail maintainance.
On Monday and Thesday we worked on the North Lone Pine trail doing general maintainance run while also putting in 15 new drains and a few check dams. We also were able to cut some trees out of the trail cause with a single buck saw.
On Wednesday we found ourselves working in the Swamp Creek trail. This is a multi use trail which saw its most action from motorcyclists. On this trail we spent the majority of our time clearing corridor as well as cutting logs that were too close to the trail and lining basically the whole thing. We also put in another 10 drains and did a good job of clearing out several very wet areas that are now dry and will be much easier to hike and ride in.
On Thursday, we went back to Lady Moon. This time not to build a turnpike, but to hike the trail and do some drain clearing. This entailed us to build a large drain system that was around 30 feet long diverting the trail, which had become basically a creek, to a meadow with the help of the long drain and an awesome rock bar. We hiked out to Disappointment Falls and turned around from there and continued to do tread work and make sure there was a defined path at necessary points through the meadow.

Untill next time,
The Red Feather Crew

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Using the pulaski to clear out a downed tree

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Cortney problem solving on trail

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John and Maggie working through some drainage issues

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-Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

A week in the life of the Boulder Crew:

Life continues to be simple and charmed in the small town of Nederland. This week we found ourselves clearing a snowshoe trail, which had been completely covered in blown down trees. This took hours of hauling and meticulous teamwork, as we tried to navigate jagged branches. We also had the opportunity to sit in on a USFS district meeting, where we were welcomed as “the trail crew”. Our other work days were spent installing trail signs on newly created trails. Overall, another excellent week that brought us even closer together as a crew.

The most exciting part of our week was moving into the USFS bunkhouse. While it was slightly bitter to be leaving our campsite, it is absolutely sweet to have running water and the ability to watch movies and use an oven. We look forward to the closeness these quarters will inevitably bring.

Chivi swaping through a burn down in Brainard Lake area

Chivi swaping through a burn down in Brainard Lake area

Reid pulasking out a stump to clear corridor

Reid pulasking out a stump to clear corridor

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Clearing drains on Long Lake trail

– Annie Makuch (Boulder Crew Member)

This week the Shadow Mountain Crew worked in the backcountry with eight Forest Service employees from the Wilderness and OHV trail crews to build a turnpike near Columbine Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The crew started the week by attending the district meeting for the Sulphur Ranger District. At the meeting they discussed safety in the field and budgeting for the 2016 field season, and the RMC-CC crew even got a shout out for their work on the Knight Ridge Trail! After the meeting the crew left for the Columbine Lake trailhead and spent most of the day packing in camp and tools for the turnpike project. The next morning was spent building new trail for a small reroute and rehabbing the old trail. Once the reroute was completed the crew got to work on the turnpike. The project got underway by falling a few trees with crosscuts and cutting them into sections for the sides of the turnpike. The turnpike was divided into sections in order to allow continued natural flow of water through the meadow where it was built. Once the trees were debarked and put into place with log carriers the crew spent most of the next two days gathering rock to fill the walkway of the turnpike. Jed and Henry, the crews llamas, were a great help all week, but they were especially helpful in hauling rock to the turnpike from the rock quarry about 400 yards away. The final turnpike turned out great, and its construction was definitely appreciated by a lot of hikers on this busy trail. It was a hard week of work for the Shadow Crew, but they still found the time and energy to enjoy themselves once the workday was finished. At camp the crew had good times playing whiffle ball and frisbee, and on the last night they took an alternate route to Columbine Lake and hiked up a couloir near their work site. It was cold and rainy at the lake, but it didn’t stop Elias from taking a quick dip! Now its time for a nice long four day weekend to rest up and have some fun in Grand Lake. This is Shadow, until next time!

The meadow area before the turnpike

The meadow area before the turnpike

The crew working its way up the couloir to Columbine Lake

The crew working its way up the couloir to Columbine Lake

Nearly completed turnpike!

Nearly completed turnpike!

The Shadow Mountain Crew enjoying the help of Jed and Henry

The Shadow Mountain Crew enjoying the help of Jed and Henry

– Blake Crossland (Shadow Mountain Crew Member)

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