We will resume our quarterly volunteer update meetings in early 2015, but wanted to provide a summary of what we’ve done this year and our plans for the future. First and foremost, we want to thank all of our volunteers, supporters, and partners who have contributed to our trail building efforts this past year! We’ve had great support from the community and have accomplished a great deal!
A video that Tim Ryan did for us last year:
New trail construction – Via our partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS), we have completed the first 2.5 miles of the new Cottonwood Trail. From the junction of CR175 & FS181 to the Backbone Trail this project will provide 8 miles total of new and existing ‘system’ trail on both USFS and BLM land, and will provide the critical link needed to complete a 17-mile loop beginning and ending in downtown Salida! We have developed a great working partnership with the USFS who is managing and heavily participating in this effort. Over this past year, SMT contributed 1500 volunteer hours and also contracted with Arrowhead Trails and Tony Boone Trails to professionally build portions of the trail. In addition, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) organized two work weekends which were a huge boost. Mike Sugaski coordinated this project from the SMT side and Brett Beasley from the USFS side. Please thank these guys when you see them! Check out this great video from the Sept VOC weekend.
Trail Maintenance – We held monthly shindig trail work days and contributed over 1000 hours to maintain the following trails: Race Track, Lost, and Dead Bird. In addition, we contracted repair work from Arrowhead Trails on the Lost Trail and contracted work on South Backbone Trail from the Southwest Conservation Corps.
Membership Program – Our first annual membership program kickoff party at the Boathouse Cantina in May was an overwhelming success. We have over 160 members and via membership dues and auction items, raised over $11,000! Salida Mountain Sports, Subculture Cyclery, Salida Bike Company, and Absolute Bikes were substantial sponsors of this effort.
Funding – Ray Kitson, owner of The Boathouse Cantina and the Rivers Edge Bar & Restaurant created this year a voluntary one-percent donation program at both restaurants to benefit SMT’s trail construction efforts. To date, this program has generated almost $15,000 and has allowed us to contract professional trail building services that would not otherwise be possible. Please show your thanks by frequenting these cool restaurants!
Events – The Run Through Time Marathon held in March by the Chaffee County Running Club, dedicated proceeds from that race to SMT totaling $6,000. The 10th Annual Vapor Trail 125 endurance mountain bike race sponsored by Absolutes Bikes donated all of its proceeds of $2,500 to SMT.
Grants – SMT has applied for a substantial State Parks grant to help finish the Cottonwood Trail project which will leverage funds raised per above. The State Parks grant awards will be announced in March – fingers crossed!
Cottonwood Trail – We hope to finish this project together with the Forest Service over this next year. We have approximately 3 miles of trail to build and rehab along with constructing a trailhead parking lot.
New BLM Trails – We have proposed over 12 miles of new trail to the BLM that will complete our Arkansas Hills and Methodist Mountain Trail Systems. We hope to have these approved by late spring and will provide detailed maps and plans at that point.
South Backbone Trail – 4 reroutes are required in order to make the South Backbone a ‘system’ trail. The easternmost reroute of 1,000 feet was completed this fall. We hope to complete the other 3 reroutes in 2015 via a combination of volunteer work days and professional trail builders.
Funding – As always, we need continued and ongoing financial support. Our goal is to have as much new trail as possible to be built professionally which averages $5 a linear foot or $26,400 per mile.
Thanks also to our partners and supporters (alphabetical Order):
Ark Valley Libation Society
Bureau of Land Management
Chaffee County Commissioners
Chaffee County Running Club
City of Salida
Rivers Edge Bar & Restaurant
Salida Bike Company
Salida Mountain Sports
Southwest Conservation Corps
Salida Parks, Open Space and Trails
Tony Boone Trails
San Isabel USFS
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Happy Trails! SMT