Friends of the Dillon Ranger District celebrates successful summer volunteer season |

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District celebrates successful summer volunteer season

Volunteers and staff with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District work on tread improvements at Sapphire Point in June.
Elaine Collins/Courtesy photo

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District has officially wrapped up its summer volunteer season, celebrating a variety of trail restoration projects and educational programs.

Doozie Martin, programs manager for the nonprofit, said it was nice to have a busier, closer-to-normal season of volunteer projects after a limited year amid the pandemic. He said the organization was able to bring more people on trips than it could last year, and volunteers no longer had to wear masks.

“The enthusiasm was as high as we’ve ever had,” Martin said. “I think people were ready to get back outside and help out in our community, so it was just really good to see a combination of old faces and new ones, as well.”

While Martin said he is proud of all of the work Friends of the Dillon Ranger District accomplished this season, he was happy to “put a bow” on the Sapphire Point project, something volunteers have been working on for a few seasons. This summer, the nonprofit and its volunteers constructed 150 feet of buck and rail fence, rehabilitated 15,000 square feet of land and added 50 tons of gravel for tread improvements at Sapphire Point.

“We’re proud of everything that we do, but it was rewarding to see that start to finish,” Martin said.

John Peterson, a volunteer crew leader for Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, worked on about a dozen projects throughout the summer. Because of his past experience building trails and working on similar projects, he leads volunteer groups and teaches them the proper ways to build and upkeep trails.

“I love the outdoors, and I used to use the trails around Summit County quite often, so I want to help keep them in good shape,” Peterson said.

Peterson said it’s rewarding to see how the volunteers are able to take something that was falling apart and make it into something new and usable. This is often reflected in the before-and-after photos the nonprofit shares showing the impact its volunteers had on a project.

The nonprofit doesn’t slow down in the winter, either. Friends of the Dillon Ranger District will lead its Ski With a Ranger education program at all of the county’s ski areas, with more volunteer opportunities to come. Information about future events can be found at

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District will also hold its annual Casino Night fundraiser from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 5 at Silverthorne Pavilion. This will include a variety of casino games where prizes will be given to the top winners as well as a silent auction on which folks can bid. Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door and can be purchased through a link on the organization’s online calendar.

At a glance

Summer accomplishments by the numbers:

• 60 trail projects

• 45 trailheads adopted in Summit County

• 90 ranger patrollers hiked 2,425 miles

• 279 bags of trash collected

• 1,023 volunteers

• 5,751 volunteer hours

• 10,000-plus trail users educated

Summer projects at a glance:

• Arctic Placer trail maintenance and bridge construction

• Copper Mountain native seed collection

• Frisco Peninsula trail maintenance and cuts, forest thinning and corridor cleaning

• Maryland Creek Trail maintenance and noxious weed removal

• Officers Gulch bridge handrail construction

• The Peaks Trail maintenance

• Peru Creek tree and plant species transplants and restoration

• Powerhair Trail maintenance

• Quandary Peak rock wall construction

• Sapphire Point rehabilitation, tread improvements and fence construction

• Spruce Creek/Wheeler Trail bridge construction

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