The Summit Fat Tire Society mountain biking organization, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, has planned two days of volunteer trail-work sessions on the popular West Ridge section of the Colorado Trail. Trail work is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, and Saturday, July 20. Organizers are still looking for volunteers to join in the effort. Work crews will meet at the dredge boat trail access on Tiger Road at 8:30 a.m. both days.
“It’s the first major project we’ve done in a few years on the Colorado Trail,” said Mike Zobbe, Fat Tire Society vice president. While the group has done maintenance work in recent years on its adopted section of the trail, this project involves a plan for more elaborate trail realignment, including approximately 300 feet of new trail to replace an existing section.
Zobbe said he hopes the Fat Tire Society, as a newly approved chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), will be able to attract larger numbers of volunteers for area projects like this one. This will be its first trail-work session as an IMBA chapter.
The project is designed to make the trail more bike friendly and sustainable.
“We’re staying pretty close to the original trail,” Zobbe said. “The idea is to slow people down and create more flow leading to switchbacks.”
Volunteers will be redesigning straight sections and working on some of the switchbacks, rebuilding them, making turns bigger and more bike friendly.
According to Zobbe, this section of trail was originally intended solely for hiking. As a result, sections of it are both impractical for bikers and more susceptible to wear and tear. With the current design, riders gain too much speed and are forced to brake abruptly for switchbacks, causing wear on the trail in the form of “brake bumps.” The new trail should be less susceptible to damage.
“We want to make it more sustainable for biking, keeping in mind it is a multiuse trail,” Zobbe said.
The project will focus on the 300-foot stretch, but Zobbe said that if there is a good volunteer turnout, the group has additional maintenance projects it would like to tend to.
The section of trail the group will work on was recently used for the Summit Mountain Challenge and Swan River Rampage course. Volunteers will have to hike or bike 3.5 miles to access the site. Tools will be provided.
The Summit Fat Tire Society will supply snacks and will host an after-work tailgate party at the end of the day.