- Andy Hitch
ATV Trail Cleanup, Maintenance, and Repair
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Although I love my business, the most rewarding aspect of it is helping maintain and protect the National Forest area we operate in through the adopt a trail program. Born, raised, and still living in the Colorado mountains myself, I have a deep respect for nature, public lands, and the sustainable use of it. Pictures below are of me and my daughter, our home, and me and Bonnie with Jamie and Skye (Forest Service) after building some fence.
2016 work we did
This was our first year of work. It primarily consisted of cleaning. We must have hauled out nearly 200 bags of trash, scraped 3 boulders that had been spray painted, and pulled out a number of truck loads of target trash.
2017 work we did
In the spring of 2017, we really got after the bullet shells and water way clean up near the shooting areas. Our hope was to lead by example so some shooters would be more respectful and pick up after themselves. I can't say it worked 100%, but any percentage is good. We did a lot of trail marker replacements, sign repairs, blocked unauthorized trails, and as always, trash collection. We collected just under 100 bags of trash in 2017.
2018 work we did
We did a bunch of fence work in 2018 with the Forest Service. We blocked a a lot of historic unauthorized trails, decommissioned 50+ camp fire rings because there was a fire ban. We put out 2 that were left burning. One even started to take over a live tree. We also took on two difficult projects. First, we rescued a rolled Jeep on trail 202 that had gone around the gate in the winter time. Second, we tore apart a camp site that someone had started building out as a home away from home. Before and after pictures are below. As always, more camp site and shooting trash collection. We put out a Facebook post asking for help for a big clean up effort. We shut down the business for 2 days. Many great people showed up and we got a lot done. Some of those people have become regulars at the trail, helping to pick up bullet shells and trash when they can.
2019 work we did
More of the same for 2019, although I believe keeping the trail clean at all times has helped other users of the trail respect it more. Lot's of people this year helping out with clean up. We still hauled out 70+ bags of trash and I lost track of how many truck loads of shooting trash. Me and one of my guys hauled logs in from around the mountain so we could lay out a barrier around the 105/216 intersection meadow grassy area. You can see tracks in the pictures. Now, the grass is lush and thick. We did a fair bit of marker replacements, more fence repair, water way clean up, the T-33 plane crash sign rebuild and replacement, and we really stayed on top of unauthorized trail activity. My trail employee Chris Ashby smelled smoke one day while he was patrolling the trail. Once he made it to the end of 217D, he could see the smoke in the distance. Turns out a small forest fire started due to some campers off trail about 500 yards. He gathered up a couple helpers and together, they put the fire mostly out. They called 911. The Allenspark fire department got to work and the next day, the hot shot came in to finish the job. Thanks to Chris, you're a hero. Thanks also to the Allenspark fire department. They were there in a flash. We also aided an off duty Estes Park police officer who had an ATV accident. This is fairly common place. Many locals have accidents on the trail. We are always there to help with first aid and contact emergency services if needed.
2020 work so far
Mid winter we did quite a bit of trash collection on some side trails. Seen a lot of people dumping their household trash and yard waste recently. We also caught six 4x4 trucks off trail. So, we cut up a green tree that had blown over to block the trail they made. We even hauled the census worker around to some private properties on the mountain. Due to a fire ban, we spent a full day decommissioning camp fire rings. The next day was spent picking up trash. The 5 bags you see below came out of the water way pictured next to it. I ended up with 5 more bags of trash and a truck load of shooting trash, plus one bucket of shotgun shells. The battle never ends. This summer has proven to be very challenging. With everyone coming out of lock down, the trail system has been packed with people. This means more trash and damage. More pics to come as we get time to update this blog.