Trails Forever: Trail Conservation Crew Recap

Three years have gone by since the Trail Conservation Crew’s formation. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, but at the same time I wouldn’t believe you if you told me this crew was only three years young. The evolution that this crew has gone through over the last three years shows the wisdom and expertise of a crew that is as old as the dirt they dig in. It is inspiring to look back at our early days, and see how far we’ve come in such a short span of time.

The season flies by and as soon as the crew starts in May, you’d better not blink, or you’ll open your eyes and there’ll be snow on the ground. Now that things are slowing down, and we have a moment or two to take a breath, I look back on the individual days and moments of the season and smile. While I could go on about how much we accomplished this season, what really stands out to me are the small moments where we all shared what it really means to be on a trail crew. Moments of smiles and laughter amidst mutual exhaustion. Accomplishing project after project together as a team. Looking back at our work; tangible results, the fruits of our sore muscles, and worn down boots.

One of our crew members this season said something along the lines of… “some people work a desk job to afford a gym membership, instead I get paid to work out.”  Working hard in the woods is what our ancestors did, and while our lives might not depend on our work the way theirs did, I find great value in what we do.

We get caught up in the details of trails, berms, waterfalls, e-bikes, flow, tech, whatever the buzzword of the day may be, but we all seek a shared goal whether we are aware of it or not. Connection. We flee to the woods to seek connection; freedom from our daily roles in society, and consumerism. We are drawn to the woods like an oasis in the Sahara. Like a salmon swimming upstream, it’s in our blood, our DNA, we can’t control it. In this light, trails are essential, not optional, and they provide us with something we can not live without, connection to each other and to nature. It’s a privilege and an honor to be the caretakers of something so vital. It is a great pleasure to  work for our community; people who share the same love and appreciation for the forest as we do.

Seeing all the supporters of our organization at events is heartwarming, and gives us the fuel and the drive to sharpen our saws, ready our tools and continue to care for our trails. We find motivation in knowing how important they are to all of us, to our community. The passing “thank you’s” on the trail mean a lot to us, and we are grateful for the recognition.. Although we know our work is valued, it’s uplifting to hear it out loud, so thank you.

We’ve come a very long way in a very short three years, we aim to continue to grow and improve, and we hope to do so with your continued support. I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to this season’s trail crew, Dominique, Gregg, Jay, Jack, Trey, Zosia, and especially Sam, and Bay, our trailcrew leaders. This team accomplished an enormous amount of work this summer, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all of them.

And now, as our trails become covered in snow (hopefully) it’s time for them to take a well deserved rest, and as we are mutually connected, we will do the same. See you in the spring. Stay classy Eagle County.


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!


Sam Chipkin, VVMTA Trail Operations Manager

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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