Volunteers needed for Arbaney Kittle Trail work | AspenTimes.com

Volunteers needed for Arbaney Kittle Trail work

Aspen Times Staff ReportAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT Hikers and bikers are needed Saturday to help with maintenance on a trail thats near and dear to many of them.Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) is teaming with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and other supporters to work on two sections of the Arbaney Kittle Trail, which traverses the high country from the Lenado area to Holland Hills, just outside of Basalt.One group of volunteers is needed to improve drainage and increase the sustainability of the first 2 miles of the trail that climb from Holland Hills, according to David Hamilton, executive director of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. The trails group can use the help of as many volunteers as they can get to work on that stretch.A second group is needed to perform trail work to the west of Sloane Peak, where mountain bikers regularly get lost trying to stay on the main trail. Hamilton said he hopes to enlist 18 to 20 people for that work. They will be shuttled by vehicle to the site. RFOV needs three volunteers with high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles to shuttle workers and tools to the site.The portion of the Arbaney Kittle Trail west of Sloane Peak is somewhat of a Bermuda Triangle. The main route fades but there are numerous other roads, trails and paths in that general area, so its easy to get lost, particularly on the first trip there. Many riders have learned the real route by trial and error, often choosing the wrong option the first time and heading down a steep road that passes the distinctive Triangle Peak.Other riders have been forced to bush-whack after losing the main trail. Charlie Eckert of Aspen, one of the founders of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, recalled getting lost with another cyclist in the mid-1990s and searching for hours for the right route. They decided to bush-whack to the valley floor but got rimmed by a series of cliffs. They were forced to lower their bikes using three bungy cords. It was an exhausting and sometimes terrifying day, he said. He wants to spare other riders from a similar ordeal.This has been sort of a nemesis of mine for years, Eckert said. There currently is a three-quarter mile trail section about 7 miles from Holland Hills where the trail disappears and people can get lost.Eckert and Hamilton met last winter and agreed that making the connection easier to find would be a worthy project on RFOVs list this summer. The mountain bike association, formed late last year, pledged to recruit volunteers.Hamilton said he hopes that many people will also volunteer to help with the steep, climbing trail out of Holland Hills. It is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Basalt area, comparable to what the Ute Trail is for Aspenites.Eckert said he anticipates cyclists will be willing to donate their time for work around Sloane Peak because Arbaney Kittle is popular as a full-day adventure tour that offers stunning views in the high ground above Woody Creek.Volunteers will receive training, breakfast snacks, free dinner, great fellowship and chances at prizes. To volunteer, contact RFOV at 927-8241, rfov@sopris.net or log on to http://www.rfov.org. Details on logistics will be provided when people contact the organization.Additional project partners and sponsors for the Basalt work day include the Basalt Bike & Ski Cycling Team, U.S. Forest Service, Pitkin County Open Space & Trails, Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt, Aspen Skiing Co. Environment Foundation, Colorado State Trails Program, and National Forest Foundation Ski Conservation Fund.

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