Can we hit the pause button on the seasons, please?!
After a busy summer and with crowds winding down (sort of), it’s a glorious time to live and play in the autumn colors of the high country. For the seemingly catastrophic global events that are plaguing humanity these days, we count our blessings that we get to live, play, learn, love, and share in such an idyllic place. That’s not to say we don’t have our own battles with a changing climate, but our small hamlet can sure pack a healthy dose of nature’s glory.
969 People reached/contacted
174 Trees cleared from trails and roads
42.9 Miles of trail worked on
1124 Campsites cleaned
53 Fire Rings decommissioned
117 Designated Campsites installed
848.95 Pounds of trash removed (including 68 human waste piles and 6 toilets)
One can’t help but reminisce of early spring when community stakeholders were anticipating and preparing for the worst – another summer of backcountry hullabaloo. After six seasons of growing impacts, let alone the madness of 2020’s COVID summer, who would have expected anything less? It was refreshing when local public lands were not spilling over with unbearable impacts and resource damage. It’s rewarding to see our backyard better cared for by providing proper infrastructure for visitors and locals alike. More refreshing was that the towns and businesses were seeing a much-needed return to normal visitor-ship, perhaps teetering on the excessive. For all the systemic problems we experience as small, highly desirable mountain towns, I’m glad to see that this season revealed the fruits of community teamwork, effective planning, and consistent messaging. While there will always be room for improvement, the collaboration among stakeholders to prepare for and respond to backcountry impacts leaves us optimistic about the future of recreation in the North end of the Gunnison Valley.
In our fifth season, the CB Conservation Corps (CBCC) took on a large scope of work beginning in May, and crews will remain on the ground until the snow flies. CBMBA was awarded a 4-week service agreement for the CBCC to tackle projects on all of 401 this fall. This was part of a contract to address the deferred maintenance needs of local ranger districts, was funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, and administered by the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Upkeep and maintenance of our vast trail network will always be a need, and on top of a full summer of trail work, our crews also completed the designated camping initiative that began in 2020. To date, all drainages surrounding Crested Butte are complete with signs, fire rings, parking, and information kiosks installed, and non-system sites have been decommissioned. In total, 207 sites have been designated over the last two years to fulfill the initiative and contribute to lasting experiences on public lands.
On September 8th, the great people of this Valley and beyond gathered for one last communal effort to drive the ‘last spike’ into the final connecting piece of the Middle Cement Creek Trail. Over 11 years ago during the last round of GMUG Travel Management planning, CBMBA made a hearty effort to help realize the Fenceline Trail in Cement Creek as a legitimate route. There were obstacles – imagine that! Over 6 years in planning and outreach, 3 years in actual build time, and one fine day in September this year, the great ends of the Cement Creek Trail were joined by the Middle Cement Creek Trail. This now provides another 4.8 miles for trail users to get off the busy road and onto glorious singletrack. Our organization continues to be amazed by how hardworking and dedicated our volunteers are.
We are grateful for the continued trust and partnership of the USFS Gunnison Ranger District, as well as national, local, and municipal partners like the Gunnison County Stewardship Fund (GCSF/NFF), Town of Mt. Crested Butte, Tourism and Prosperity Partnership (TAPP), Gunnison Valley Met Rec District, Town of Crested Butte, CB Land Trust, 1% for Open Space, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The CBCC is funded via grants, contracts, and donations from these partners, and we are made whole by the people of this community, both near and far. We have the deepest and most heartfelt thanks for those who support the efforts of the CBCC and CBMBA. Businesses, organizations, families, individuals, corporations, and volunteers, we cannot – we cannot do this without you. THANK YOU!
Our crew will be back in 2022 with plenty of work to do. CBMBA hopes to continue to earn your support and trust as we aim to serve the trail needs and recreation desires of this magical place. We look forward to enjoying glorious singletrack and swinging tools alongside you in 2022!