Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks

Sweat and muscle for trail work in Rocky Mountain National Park comes, in part, in the form of Conservation Corps provided through the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

This past spring the Conservancy sent 36 conservation corps interns out into the field in six crews for an 11-week internship as part of its Conservation Corps Program. Half of this group worked in the national park (the other half worked in the surrounding Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest) to protect landscapes against ecological damage and provide safe and sustainable recreational experiences for visitors.

This year’s maintenance season proved particularly important as the severe floods in September 2013 caused heavy erosion, damage to drains, and trail braiding throughout Northern Colorado’s public lands. By mid-summer the crews in the park had completed maintenance runs on the Cub Lake, Emerald Lake, Deer Mountain, Gem Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Finch Lake, and Ute trails.

On these trails the crews cleared downed logs and brush from the paths, improved drainage, built erosion-control structures, and erased social and braided trails. At one point all six crews worked with park staff on the Ouzel Falls Bridge Project in the Wild Basin area.

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