The Friends of the Dillon Ranger District are prepped and ready for their National Trails Day volunteer project on Saturday.
Earlier this week, the group worked with a handful of volunteers to clear downed trees and other debris in preparation for the big day, when volunteers will reroute the trail along the banks of the Frisco Peninsula.
“We are working to realign the perimeter trail and bump it up off the shore a little bit to put it in a more sustainable place, ” said Sarah Slaton, FDRD’s program manager. “So when we do get that big awesome snow year again and the reservoir overfills we will still have a trail.”
Saturday’s volunteer project is one of the largest of season, attracting about 60 people each year, Slaton said. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. and will conclude around noon. FDRD staff said they hope the event will attract a slough of new do-gooders to improve the trails in Summit County.
“Frisco Peninsula is a go-to area for a lot of folks,” said Kate Zander, service project coordinator. “It is so central to the county, being able to give back in your own backyard is a huge benefit to the community,” she said.
Saturday’s project is a collaborative effort between Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness, the Summit Fat Tire Society, Maverick Sports Promotion and the USDA Forest Service.
Event organizers hope the collaborative nature of the event will entice multi-use trail users to volunteer their time.
“Most people who live here use the trails to some capacity, whether it be horseback riding, cross country skiing, mountain biking or hiking,” Slaton said.
If every person who used the trails gave just a little bit of their time, it would make a huge difference, she said.
Volunteers will get to use tools with quirky names, like the Pickmattock and Mcleod. They’ll also become acquainted with a “dirtbag,” a user-friendlier version of a bucket that’s used to haul debris. Slaton’s favorite part of maintaining trails is swinging tools alongside volunteers.
“It’s a really great bonding event,” she said.
Trail maintenance is a way to connect with the land, with volunteers getting see the fruits of their labor come together throughout the day.
“I hope volunteers get a sense of place and a sense of ownership where they live,” Slaton said.
“I love the energy of volunteers and the camaraderie around a trail project,” Zander added. “When you are working toward a common goal and there’s a tangible result you can’t help but be enthused.”