Partner project tends to well-used bike trails |

Partner project tends to well-used bike trails

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

When roughly 125 outdoors-oriented stewards head to the Keystone Homestead historic site – currently in use by Keystone Resort for its dinner sleigh and wagon rides – in a few weeks, they’ll lend a hand to some of the most heavily-used mountain biking trails in the county.

It’s the spot where four popular trails converge, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District program manager Sarah Slaton said, meaning the area needs a lot of work. And there’s a chance to do so – the project is the organization’s first and only overnight trail opportunity this year. And it’s in partnership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado so there are additional resources to make the weekend not only productive, but fun.

Slaton said those who register to attend the Sept. 17-18 volunteer event can camp in a beautiful spot that’s normally closed to overnight stays. Volunteers get free meals all weekend, including beer from New Belgium, and the chance to enjoy music from the Pine Beatles Saturday evening.

The overnight event affords the opportunity to get hard work done in a more remote area, Slaton said. And it’s a “cool opportunity for local mountain bikers to work on this really heavily-used network of trails,” she added. Summit Mountain Bikers are helping get word out about the event and encourage the people who use the trails the most to lend a hand in their upkeep.

And the event isn’t just for adults.

“It’s a family-friendly young steward project,” Slaton said, explaining that children over the age of 6 can sign up. “It’s the first time we as an organization have provided child education through Friends of the Dillon Ranger District,” she said.

As adults are building bridges over bogs, raised sections of trail and drainage dips, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District’s youth programs coordinator Daniel Eberle teams up with staff from Keystone Science School to bring “an exciting environmental education component to the Keystone Homestead project,” Eberle said. It’s part of an ongoing working relationship aimed at continuing to engage and inspire a new generation of youth stewards.

“We want the kiddos to understand why we do trail work and practice environmental stewardship,” he said.

On Saturday, the teaching team focuses on earth science and geology with particular attention to the water cycle and lands formation.

“By focusing on these particular topics the youth will have the opportunity to learn and understand how the natural elements affect our trails system and why there is a need for volunteers on national lands,” Eberle said, adding that on Sunday, the youth will have an opportunity to try their own hands at trail building.

“It’s important that the youth understand why and how we swing tools and play in the dirt,” he said. “When the youth understand the principals of natural sciences and how they affect our trails systems, they begin to see the need for continued environmental stewardship.”

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