Summit County Open Space, Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance complete trail work before snow falls
The Summit County Open Space & Trails Department seasonal trails crew completed two major projects this summer despite surging use of local trails amid the pandemic.
The work included the construction of a new trail in the Mineral Hill area of French Gulch outside of Breckenridge and the replacement of deteriorating bridges along the Willow Brook Trail outside of Silverthorne.
In an email, Jason Lederer of Summit Open Space said this summer’s work proceeded “somewhat normally” while other annual activities, such as tree and brush clearing and trails maintenance, also were completed.
During July and August, the trails crew completed a new 2,500-foot, hiking-only trail leading toward the top of Mineral Hill in French Gulch. The trail construction was supported by two weeks with a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew, two volunteer groups and a day of rock hauling by the town of Breckenridge’s seasonal trail crew.
The construction required installing areas of technical rock staircases and a log staircase toward the top. This segment is the first phase of a two-phase project. The second phase, which will take the trail to the top of Mineral Hill, is currently in the planning and permitting phase, with construction anticipated as early as 2022 if approved in 2021. The trail will provide views of French Gulch, the Tenmile Range and the area’s extensive mining history.
To the north, the open space department replaced four existing decades-old log crossings in September and October with three new bridges on the Willow Creek Trail outside of Silverthorne. The largest bridge spans more than 55 feet. It’s hoped these bridges will last more than 50 years.
For the trail work, upward of $7,000 of materials was donated by a local Silverthorne resident, substantially reducing project costs. The town of Silverthorne, which partnered with the county on the project, also contributed funding toward materials costs and helped haul in about 7,000 pounds of materials to the bridge sites.
Also in Silverthorne, the Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance’s “sawyer team” cleared 85 trees off the trail that goes from Ryan Gulch, past Lily Pad Lake to the Meadow Creek Trailhead. The team cleared 20 more trees beyond the Meadow Creek Trailhead.
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