At season kickoff event, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District shares upcoming work
Despite the presence of snowfall outside, the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District unofficially commenced the summer recreation season in Summit County on Wednesday night with their annual FDRD Season Kickoff at the Silverthorne Pavilion.
At the event, FDRD staff, as well as Dillon District ranger Bill Jackson, briefed FDRD members and those in attendance on important developments for the nonprofit and within the White River National Forest’s Dillon District. For more information on the FDRD, visit FDRD.org. With that, here are some important things to know:
Barbed wire removal
FDRD programs manager Doozie Martin said FDRD will continue to work this summer to remove what he described as “miles and miles” of barbed wire throughout the county that currently serves no purpose and is detrimental to the health of wildlife, namely mule deer. Martin said on Wednesday he was still looking for a partner to help him on June 12 with barbed-wire removal near the Oro Grande Trail near Dillon.
Martin said the FDRD will work on June 13 on a portion of the Colorado Trail in Breckenridge, from Gold Hill up toward the Tenmile Range. Martin said the totality of the stretch is 8 miles and gains 3,000 feet of elevation, though the specific work on June 13 will be located about a half-mile to three-quarters of a mile in.
The FDRD has plans to help put in 4 miles of new trail in the area of Tenderfoot Mountain, working in conjuction with CoBank, the High Country Conservation Center, the town of Dillon, Xcel Energy and Summit County Off-Road Riders. Martin elaborated that the trails most likely would not be put in this year.
FDRD is currently working with the county and Breckenridge Mountain Rotary Club to name an unnamed peak after Rotary near Loveland Pass at the Continental Divide. Martin said FDRD this summer will work to put in a fence near the peak to help recreationists know where they are going.
Martin said the FDRD will work with the Forest Service this summer to complete naturalization and rehabilitation work in the areas of Rock Creek, Peru Creek and Tiger Road.
Grays and Torreys
Though the two popular 14,000-foot mountains technically reside just outside of the county’s boundary, Martin and FDRD executive director Michael Connolly said the FDRD is interested in completing similar trail improvements at Grays and Torreys that they completed over the past three years at Summit County’s lone official 14er, Quandary Peak.
FDRD previously worked with the National Forest Foundation, and the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative to improve the condition of the Quandary Peak trail from a C- in 2015 to an A- last year. Connolly, who would lead the project, said the project would take multiple years, similar to the work on Quandary.
The FDRD plans to complete 1.63 miles or reroute work on the Hippo Trail this summer. Martin described the trail, which is a part of the Soda Creek Trail System, as being in horrible shape.
Martin said FDRD will continue its naturalization work in the historic Masontown area after similar work last summer.
Connolly said the FDRD is currently working with Copper Mountain Resort to launch a Hike With a Ranger program similar to the Ski With a Ranger program offered at local ski resorts and areas located on the White River National Forest.
Martin said the FDRD is looking into a mult-year process of improving the quality of the trail to the popular scenic spot Sapphire Point, which overlooks Dillon Reservoir along Swan Mountain Road. Martin said the work would be conducted to improve recreation opportunities for those in wheelchairs or with strollers and walkers.
“The trail was on such a slope that it needs some work,” Martin said. “So it’s probably going to be a five-year plan.”
Wildlife Protection Team
Connolly said Martin is leading the FDRD’s foray into a Wildlife Protection Team. FDRD plans to work with Forest Service wildlife biologist Ashley Nettles to conduct Lynx habitat and goshawk raptor surveys.
FDRD education & youth programs manager Devyn Arbogast said FDRD’s forestry in the field hikes will be rebranded this year under the leadership of Colorado State University extension agent Dan Schroder. One of the hikes will go up to the location of the burn remaining from last year’s Buffalo Mountain Fire and another will go to the bottom of the new Peak 1 avalanche slide.
Other FDRD events this summer include the popular Bill Linfield Photography Workshop, a new Birds of Prey Boat Tour on Lake Dillon — which will be on a pontoon boat and led by Ruth Caroll, showcasing nests on Lake Dillon — and Pat Taylor’s popular wildflower hike in July. There will also be a FDRD wildlife walk in September.
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