According to a CPW news release March 31, the Youth Corp will be hired for 33 weeks to repair trails impacted by wildfire damage and increased visitation in areas open to motorized recreation.
Projects include the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, Rainbow Trail near Salida and Grand Lake OHV area. Work is expected to begin in June.
The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway that connects Silverton with Lake City sees 385,000 visitors annually.
CPW said the proliferation of vehicle-accessible dispersed campsites along the Alpine Loop are becoming a capacity and density issue, affecting visitor experience and impacting natural resources.
The Bureau of Land Management is working toward addressing these issues through campsite designation. The work would also include removing 125 rock fire rings, bagging ash piles containing nails and glass, cleaning up trash, installing 125 metal fire rings and campsite posts and bucking and felling hazard trees.
Designating campsites will address issues the proliferation of campsites, trash, soil compaction in fragile locations and vehicle encroachment off the roadways.
Rainbow Trail near SalidaThe Rainbow Trail near Salida features 100 miles of single track popular with motorcyclists. With the use of saw crews, hazard tree mitigation will help with user safety as well as trail sustainability.
Grand LakeThe off-road vehicle Grand Lake Trail system in the Arapaho National Forest was impacted by wildfires in 2020.
More than 200 miles of the off-road system damaged by wildfire will be worked on by the Youth Corp. Projects will improve runoff systems and benched-trail tread through burn scars.
Colorado’s trails saw explosive growth in visitation in 2020 as people looked for outdoor and socially distanced activities during the pandemic.
Local, state and federal outdoor agencies across the state reported on average a 30% increase in visitation on public lands, according to CPW.
In addition to higher visitation, last summer’s catastrophic wildfires posed new challenges for Colorado’s trail network, as heavily burned wildfire areas shifted wildlife movements and the connectivity of some trails because of post-burn hot spots in forest areas.
“As we monitor how human use and natural disasters impact our outdoor spaces, we have an obligation to work together to protect our trails so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Fletcher Jacobs, CPW’s State Trails Program Manager. “We look forward to collaborating with Colorado Youth Corps because it allows us to bond with our outdoor community at a grassroots level, and get our hands dirty together as we work toward rebuilding areas that will enhance recreation opportunities.”