Well, we did it! After years of discussion about the increasing impacts in our backcountry, reduced funding and resources, longer seasons and usage, and how to deal with growing numbers, we finally succeeded in pulling off a full time, on the ground, trail care/stewardship crew this past summer. We at CBMBA are so proud of the CB Conservation Corps. We could not be any happier with how successful it was in its inaugural year. It was truly a Backcountry Revival.
In so many ways, the Conservation Corps is truly a community organization. We are so proud, so humbled, to work alongside nearly every single player out there in the backcountry world that makes up the Gunnison Valley, and we would never have pulled this off without that very support and those partnerships.
From personal observations and reporting to collaborations with landowners, easement holders, private entities, local governments, and public land managers, we were able to successfully steward not only the seven drainages that surround Crested Butte, but branch out to the Mill Creek area closer to Gunnison as well. We worked on Wilderness trails alongside motorized and non-motorized trails. We cleaned up private and public lands. We worked alongside several conservation organizations, and were proud to host trail and stewardship educational opportunities for volunteer groups and learning institutions. (And hey, they often helped us get mad trail work done!) We’ve worked hard to create better experiences for all users.
In the end, the CBCC pulled out 705.5 pounds of trash from our beloved backyard. That does not include the toilets, the 2 reclining chairs, or the grill. The CBCC crews personally reached 1311 people – they saw perhaps 4 to 5 times that amount. They gave trail information, helped park cars on busy weekends and mitigated busy trailheads, helped with signage and spoke about trail etiquette, cleaned up human waste, closed down illegal uses and routes, worked with ranchers to mitigate recreation impacts, worked alongside Mountain Manners to reach more users, decommissioned non-sustainable routes, diverted water and prevented erosion, worked with property managers and HOA’s, and helped private land owners deal with recreation impacts. They cut out over 534 (documented) downed trees, and they helped put in the extra hours and missions that made reaching the saddle on Baxter Gulch a reality.
Like we said, it took an entire community. We can’t thank the Town of Mt. Crested Butte enough, for taking the first step – and a huge one – in helping us find the funding to run the CBCC. A source of great pride is that so many amazing local organizations were so quick to support us. Thank you Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, the CB Land Trust, the Chamber of Commerce, Big Mountain Enduro, High Country Conservation Advocates, the GOATS, CB Devo, and the always supportive and ready to help, Gunnison/CB Tourism Association. With this start and the clock ticking on the visitation season, the Town of Crested Butte and 1% for Open Space came in clutch and set the CBCC full steam ahead with massive support. Our future and our deepest gratitude go especially to the CBCC Founders – our muse. Founders are individuals and some businesses that saw the need and the vision of the CBCC and supported us in humbling ways.
We worked with so many organizations, but none more than the US Forest Service, Gunnison Ranger District. We are so blessed with a multitude of public lands. We are so grateful for the leadership, and so honored to work alongside the good people of the Gunnison Ranger District. We look forward to continuing this great partnership with the USFS and our friends at the BLM well into the future.
So many thanks to Jeff Hermanson and Ian Billick for making our Annual Summer Dinner a wonderful evening that saw new CBCC Founders and CBMBA supporters. It was truly a Backcountry Revival!
Thank you to Voormi for outfitting our Founders, and to Smith Optics for keeping the CBCC crews in sleek shades!
And to the real heroes, mad love and huge thanks to the crews who made it happen: Matt Steinwand and Ryan Maddux (crew leaders) and to Cosmo Langsfeld, Nick Catmur, Jimbo Webb, and Kai Sherman. These fellas went the extra mile this year, and did amazing work. They did it with a smile, with sheer love for the very resources they were protecting, and in great style! They made a big, big difference.
The CBCC will be back next year. Thank you for the high fives on the trail, the observations, and the support for CBMBA.
David Ochs and the CBMBA Board of Directors