MONTROSE – Pull on your hiking boots, and join the Bureau of Land Management for a month-long series of fun filled activities and volunteer opportunities.
Traditionally, land management agencies such as the BLM recognize National Public Lands Days (annually the last Saturday in September) with an assortment of activities to celebrate and maintain public lands. This year, the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office is celebrating National Public Lands Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act by repairing the Ute Trail in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The trail was damaged due to heavy rains that caused erosion in this amazing wilderness area,” said Edd Franz, Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Recreation Planner. “We also need to install a fence at the wilderness boundary to prevent further resource damage.”
Volunteers who help with this project will receive free national park passes, T-shirt and lunch. In order to receive the goodies, volunteers must RSVP by contacting Emily Hoerner, BLM Volunteer and Visitor Coordinator, at 970-240-5300.
Additionally, volunteers should wear appropriate protective clothing for working outdoors in possibly wet or hot conditions. The BLM will provide water, and each volunteer is encouraged to bring their own water bottle. Volunteers should meet the staff at the Montrose Public Lands Center at 8 a.m. to carpool to the work site.
On Tuesday, Sept. 9, and Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the public is invited to join fellow volunteers in working to complete the entry trail to the newly constructed Ridgway Area Trails system.
“This exciting new trail system is becoming very well known for some of the best cross country mountain biking trails in the region,” said Barbara Sharrow, Uncompahgre Field Manager. “The Ridgway Area Trails is a great place to bike or hike, and visitors say these are some of the most fun trails around whether you are a beginner or expert.”
The trail work includes heavy lifting, digging and moving rocks from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Volunteers need to wear closed-toe shoes, pants and weather protection. Some gloves will be provided, but Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own. Interested volunteers should meet at the trailhead on County Road 10 (about 1/2 mile east of Highway 550) north of Ridgway, Colo.
The BLM also needs volunteers to teach environmental education to 6th grade students at the annual “Take it Outside! Cottonwood Days” during the week of September 15-19. For many students, this is the only exposure to hands-on learning in the outdoors. Stations include Aquatic Insects, Fly Tying, Leave No Trace Hike, People of the Past and the Web of Life. If you would like to share your knowledge, please call the Montrose Public Lands Center at 970/240-5300.
The final National Public Lands Day project involves completing a new trail segment that will provide easier access the Buzzard Gulch Trail system on Saturday, Sept. 27-28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Volunteers should meet at the Spring Canyon Trail Head off of Spring Canyon Road where they will perform light shovel work to heavy lifting projects. Volunteers must wear protective clothing, closed-toe shoes and bring water. On Saturday, there is a free volunteer barbeque following the trail work provided by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association.
“We are so privileged to live in an area that allows us a multitude of recreational opportunities within 10-20 miles, and we really appreciate all of the people who volunteer their time to maintain our natural resources,” said Hoerner.
For more information about any of the volunteer opportunities, call 970/240-5300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.