Trail rehab project back on track for North Maroon Peak | AspenTimes.com

Trail rehab project back on track for North Maroon Peak

ASPEN – Rehabilitation work on Aspen’s most iconic mountains will get under way this summer after stalling for lack of funds last year.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) plans to begin a trail and terrain rehabilitation project on North Maroon Peak in July, according to executive director Lloyd Athearn. Work will continue on North Maroon Peak in 2013 as well as begin on Maroon Peak, he said.

CFI is a nonprofit organization based in Golden. Its mission is to educate people about the ecological damage occurring on the state’s 54 mountains exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation and repairing that damage.

CFI selects two or three projects per summer with direction from the U.S. Forest Service. The work on the Maroon Bells has been a top priority, but CFI had to scale back its schedule last year because of lack of funds. CFI earlier estimated the planned work on North Maroon Peak will cost $286,000 while the project on Maroon Peak will boost the total to $415,000.

A CFI project description says a one-mile stretch of trail must be delineated after the trail up North Maroon splits from the Maroon-Snowmass Trail. There are currently several “social” trails with no clear route. A main trail will be built, and the social trails will be closed and revegetated.

The North Maroon Peak work is a top priority because of “the significant natural resource impacts it is experiencing, as well as the increasing rate of change,” according to a CFI report.

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CFI also plans to complete a project on Mount of the Holy Cross and start a project on San Luis Peak this year. CFI will send two of its trail-work supervisors to the North Maroon Peak project to oversee 10 employees from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Volunteer organizations will also supply workers during periods of the summer.

CFI received $3,000 from the city of Aspen $3,000 from Pitkin County and $8,000 from the Aspen Skiing Co. Environment Foundation. Those funds will be applied to the project. It also received grants from the National Forest Foundation and Colorado State Trails program.

In addition to the work on North Maroon Peak by a veteran crew, CFI will recruit volunteers, whom it will supervise for maintenance work on six of Colorado’s big peaks, including Capitol Peak near Aspen. The group needs volunteers from Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 8. Workers will stay in the backcountry. More information on that project is available by sending email to Coby at adopt@14ers.org.

Athearn said CFI regularly undertakes maintenance on trail sections it built on the big peaks.

“The trail’s in good shape,” he said in reference to Capitol Peak. “We need to keep putting money and time into it to make sure it stays that way.”

More about the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is available at http://www.14ers.org.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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