Our season went long this year, and we accomplished much!
1555 People reached (actual conversation)
371 Trees cut out from trails/roads
70.8 Miles of trail worked on
1498.16 lbs. of trash collected
It was a successful year with a huge winter to start things off, a very busy summer, and projects that kept us going until just this last week. We accomplished our goal of increasing the number of contacts/reaches we made to people in our backyard by adding ‘outreach’ and ‘stewardship’ days for the crews.
All our CBCC crews this year were veterans, two of whom have been with us since year 1, 2017. We added two High School students to the mix for the busy parts of the summer, and I truly can’t convey how proud we are of these crews. The work they did, the effort they put in, and all they accomplished is something special and we at CBMBA hope that all user groups and the good people of this Valley and beyond were able to witness their efforts from a variety of perspectives. So that you can give them high fives and buy them a beer or a burger when you see them, our crews were Nick Catmur, Ryan Maddux, Alex Banas, Ryan Sullivan, Heather Bradford, and our two high school fellas were Gus Bullock and Holden Bradford. They are ROCK STARS!
Our numbers were down in a couple of areas—trees cut out and trash removed. For most organizations, lower numbers mean poor results; however, we consider them a great success! We removed fewer trees because the GOATS were hard at it, because many, many local citizens were hard at it, and because the Forest Service was hard at it. It was so great to get so many emails, texts, and social media updates from folks who cut out so many downed trees in so many places. We’re honored to be a part of such a community, and it truly takes a village.
As for the trash numbers being down, I’d like to say… IT’S WORKING! Perhaps the outreach, the visible presence of stewardship efforts and “boots on the ground”, and getting the message out there has worked. We didn’t find the grills, the boats, or the discarded campsites and trailers out there that we have in the past. We did find the homemade camp toilets, and CBCC crews wish they didn’t find those. We did find plenty of scattered human waste and toilet paper, and we wish we didn’t find that either. Despite our crews still finding the ugly stuff out there, the bathrooms that the Forest Service provided along with the portable toilets the Chamber of Commerce businesses provided have made a huge difference. Again, it takes a village!
We took on some different aspects of stewardship this year by looking at our vital water sources. We took 116 pounds of trash out of Lake Irwin, the Town of CB’s headwaters! Recreating in a glorious location with a glorious background and a lake and shoreline scattered with trash is not acceptable to us. So, we got a wetsuit and some pool cleaning supplies, pulled out the paddleboards, were joined by a helping friend in a kayak, and we stormed the shores by foot and the lake by watercraft.
We pulled out cans, pop tops, fishing line and lures, signs, bottles, snowmobile parts, solo cups, fishing rods, goggles, wrappers, a jack, and an iphone amongst many other things. The iphone still works! We also recovered a decomposing fiberglass boat.
We worked with RMBL to identify a location and help their scientists put cameras out for a wildlife study. We worked with the CB Land Trust and Vail Resorts to reroute the Long Lake trail so it can handle the numbers it sees. We’ve continued to work with TAPP (and the FS and BLM) to get kiosks, signs, and wayfinding points all over the backyard. We partnered with Irwin Guides, the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, CB Devo, Adaptive Sports, the Towns of Mt. CB and CB, the Slate River Working Group, Vail Resorts, and most recently the CO Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety and BLM to realize an actual system route of the GB loop; making safe the exposed areas along the route, and blocking off access to the reclaimed mine sites. We are so grateful to work alongside, arm and arm, with these organizations.
We are a proud member of the GPLI and STOR, and we are most proud to be a recipient of support from the Gunnison County Stewardship Fund (GCSF), the future of stewardship efforts in Gunnison County. The National Forest Foundation (NFF) has cultivated this fund from local businesses and permittees, and our Gunnison Forest District Ranger made it happen. We are so obliged to them and their forward thinking. There are a lot of good organizations working together to protect and conserve what we cherish. It takes a village… and then some!
We, locals and visitors, are here for a reason. If you choose to live here, then that reason must be to sustain what it is we have. For those that visit, then you must find a way to be a part of the solution. We’ll be out there to help, and we could use more help out there, too. If we don’t find a way to make this experiment of public lands work into the distant future, then we all fail!
CBMBA is 36 years old. The CBCC is 3 years old. As a “Trails” organization, our goal is to not just keep doing what we’ve been doing, but to do it better. We believe that we must have a presence on the ground or we will not be fulfilling our mission. We believe we must keep the community engaged, or we will not be fulfilling our mission. We believe CBMBA and the CBCC must grow to keep up with the demands and the impacts. But we’ll continue to need your support to make that happen. We so appreciate the amazing support and helping hands that have brought us to this point, and we hope you continue to help us realize a sustainable future for our backyard.