Trail Conservation Crew – 2022 Season Recap

Wow, what a season that was! First off, our crew would like to thank all of our supporters and volunteers for your ongoing efforts and support, all of what we accomplished this season wouldn’t be possible without you. Secondly, an enormous thanks to our unwaveringly awesome trail crew. This year’s crew was absolutely rock solid, and even though our crew is only two years young, the expertise and enthusiasm that our crew members brought with them this year from their varying backgrounds undoubtedly lifted our crew as a whole to the next level. 

There was no easing into the season this year, it was zero to sixty right out of the gate. From Lee’s Way, to the Lov Connector bridge, straight into the GoPro Mountain Games Dual Slalom at the Minturn Bike Park, it was full gas right from the start. We had so much fun getting the dual slalom track race ready with some help from our buddy Kyle Strait.  Being able to help run the event itself was a welcomed challenge. We can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Before we even had a chance to catch our breathe it was straight into tree clearing season, and what a season it was. Exceptional spring winds made certain that we had our work cut out for us. In a collaborative effort with the Forest Service we covered trails from Two Elk, Buffehr Creek, North Trail, Everkrisp, Paulie’s Plunge, Son of Middle and Iron Edge. 600+ trees were cleared with a whopping 220+ on Buffehr Creek alone! The exceptional sawyers on our crew did a great job making sure the trails were clean and clear as fast and safely as possible.

As the season progressed it came time to move into our big projects for the year, Mill Creek and Full Nelson. Mill Creek was unanimously decided as the crew’s favorite project. We all loved the opportunity to work in such a beautiful and diverse location. From spruce forests to the cliffs of East Vail, it was just a great place to work. The partnerships on this project made it a special one also. Between the Forest Service, VVMTA, McGill Trails, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, our legendary volunteers, and our crew, it’s hard to find someone who didn’t have a hand in this project.  Big thanks to everyone involved! Building 6+ miles of trail in a few months wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. 

While the TCC had their hands full on Mill Creek, our machine operator Travis, began breaking ground on the newly rerouted Full Nelson trail connecting West Grouse Creek to the Grouse Lake trail. Travis used his sharply refined skills to make it look like the machine was never there, and we’re stoked on the finished product. Thanks to Full Nelson, bikes are now allowed on the lower portion of the Grouse Lake trail, and there is a new connection to the network via Haymeadow and the brand new Ditch Trail!  Big steps in the right direction for the Meadow Mountain area.

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While these were some of the TCC’s major projects of the year, there were many others throughout the summer from Eagle to East Vail. A few others that we particularly enjoyed were drainage on Two Elk East, check steps and tread improvement on Iron Edge, and stream crossing improvements on Grouse Lake. 

All in all, we had a really great summer and it was a pleasure working with our crew as well as all of our partners. Thanks again to everyone who had a hand in making this summer as rad as it was. We really appreciate all of you. Until next year!

Cheers,

Sam Chipkin, VVMTA Trail Operations Manager

                                                Donate to the VVMTA

Sammy Wants You To Support the TCC:

Donate now to support this crew with:

  1. Crew Apparel/Uniforms:  We get super dirty, wet, sweaty, you name it out there and the more funding we have for uniforms the more comfortable we are out there and ready to work for our community!
  2. First Aid Supplies:  Many of us on the crew have certifications such as Wilderness First Aid but we definitely need to up our first-aid kits.  We need two, fully stocked kits for both of our trucks with items like tourniquets, pelvic binders, etc.
  3. Tools:  Man do we always need new tools!  We give our tools a beating through the year and are constantly in need of the newest tool technology and chainsaw supplies to complete projects.
  4. Food & Drink:  As you can imagine, digging in the dirt keeps us hungry and thirsty all day long.  Food and drink supplies are greatly appreciated and keeps the moral high!
  5. Training:  From rock work, mini excavator operation, bridge building, check-step creation, to turnpikes and mono walls…we always can learn and improve our skills through educational training opportunities.

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