The town of Breckenridge Open Space and Trails Department and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will join forces this weekend to complete a highly anticipated extension on Turk’s Trail — part of the French Gulch trail network outside of downtown Breckenridge. Organizers are still looking for volunteers and hope to get up to 175 people to work on the two-day project.
“It’s realizing a vision that was set a long time ago,” Breckenridge Open Space and Trails planner Scott Reid said. “It took a lot of pieces to get there.”
The plan includes a roughly 4,000-foot extension of the existing trail and is designed in part to give users an opportunity to bypass French Gulch Road to access Sallie Barber Road and other trails.
“It creates another connection and allows more loop opportunities,” Reid said of the project. The extension was made possible through a joint purchase of private land by the Summit County and town of Breckenridge open space departments.
“It’ll be a really cool trail,” Reid said. “It has a distinctive feel from the other side of the valley.”
Located on the south side of French Gulch Road, the new singletrack will pass through a fairly dense and dark forest, adding to what Reid described as a “unique feel” in stark contrast to aspen groves on the other side of the gulch.
The new section will be designated as a multi-use trail with particular appeal to local mountain bikers. The project contains some complex features, including a 15-foot rock wall to help build out the trail and 1- or 2-foot bridges.
Project managers from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will oversee the project.
“They’ve done amazing work for us,” Reid said, adding that VOC has been contracted by the town of Breckenridge for numerous projects, including the first segment of Turk’s Trail, which was constructed a few years ago. “We set it up, and they run the project,” Reid explained.
VOC is just one of a number of volunteer groups that help with area trails. Other projects are run in conjunction with the Forest Service and groups like the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District and the Summit Fat Tire Society, which recently completed a trail realignment on its adopted section of the Colorado Trail. The group has another project on Aug. 2.
Reid said the town of Breckenridge will also have a number of other trail work sessions continuing throughout the summer.
As a part of this weekend’s project, the VOC has arranged for volunteers from outside the county to camp near the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge starting Friday evening. The organization will also be offering free meals to volunteers through the weekend.
Additionally, on Saturday night the group will host a volunteer-appreciation dinner with live music at the campsite and beer provided by Breckenridge Brewery.
The project will be one of nine designated to commemorate the VOC’s 30th anniversary. The nonprofit is contracted to direct trail projects all across Colorado.
Volunteers will be working on the trail from 8 a.m. to around 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27. Matt Martinez, project manager for VOC, said he anticipates the work may be completed ahead of schedule Sunday. “I think we’ll be able to get all the work done in those two days,” he said.