The land exchange is complete, the Forest Service has approved the route, and OTG volunteers have begun building the new section of Perimeter Trail between Old Twin Peaks Trail and Oak St. Flagging the route, rock removal and the installation of steps have been some of the first steps in the process. The tread is only "roughed in" at this time. Click on the Volunteer tab for information on how you can help.
From late March through July 2020, the Ouray Trail Group (OTG) fielded 31 separate work trips on National Forest trails in the Ouray Ranger District. The trips included 3 multi-day trips and 28 single-day trips. Sixty volunteers contributed at minimum 1,168 volunteer hours organizing trips and performing trail maintenance on the National Forest. Through July OTG has cleared 445 down trees from 58 miles of trail, removed encroaching brush and saplings, and repaired tread by removing rocks and debris, removing slough and restoring tread width and outslope, cleaning drains, building new drains including rolling grade dips, and blocking or filling short sections of multiple treads and switchback shortcuts.
Eleven OTG crew members spent three days on the Middle Fork Trail, teaming with USFS personnel and pack horse support. The group repaired tread and fixed eroded trail sections, in addition to clearing 40 downed trees on the Middle Fork Trail and 10 trees on the Porphyry Trail! The Backcountry Crew is looking forward to their next work weekend on August 15th and 16th (see Volunteer tab). Click Read More below to see additional photos!
Kricket Sherer, USFS, works with Tim Foulkes to repair a cairn on the trail.
As spring advances and trail use ramps up, we need to remember government directives to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers need to cooperate more than ever to share the trails and make user encounters as safe as possible. Trail users should forego signing in to registers at trailheads for now. To maintain social distancing, trail users need to step off the trail to let others pass.
Hikers should distance at least 6 feet when passing each other. But what about trail athletes, who are working (and breathing) harder? Dr. John Unger is a sports chiropractor in Montrose who is a member of the Wilderness Medicine Society and a competitive trail runner. Based on published medical literature, Dr. Unger notes that trail users breathing hard, such as runners and mountain bikers, exhale a larger “plume” of tiny vapor droplets around and especially behind them. He and other health experts recommend that hard exercisers keep a greater distance from others, 20 to 30 feet, to minimize the potential spread of the virus. Wind can further spread the droplets that trail users exhale.
UPDATE: This training was cancelled by VOC. We will keep you updated when it is rescheduled.
Ouray Trail Group is working in partnership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and the USFS to offer an opportunity for OTG volunteers to sharpen their skills and learn new solutions and techniques for hiking trail maintenance and repair.
The U.S. Forest Service has funded and arranged the 1-day training, on Saturday, June 20, 2020, for OTG volunteers to develop and refine trail maintenance skills. The training will be taught by trail professionals from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), a Denver-based nonprofit that provides training and volunteer opportunities to support public land trails and ecological restoration. The training will include a morning classroom session in Ouray, and afternoon hands-on trail work on a Ouray-area hiking trail. The course will focus on understanding how trails are designed and managed, how to recognize trail maintenance issues and judge their importance, and how to maintain and repair trails emphasizing tread surface drainage, erosion, and stabilization. Time, location, and other details will be announced soon. All are welcome!