Trail Talk: Meet Brandon Hawksley, Snowmass Village’s new Parks, Open Space and Trails manager
Longtime trails crew member takes on full-time role
Spend enough time on the trails and slopes of Snowmass Village and you’ll probably see Brandon Hawksley at some point — or his handiwork, anyway.
The village local has worked on the summer trails crew for nearly a decade in the Parks and Recreation department — he spends his winters as a ski patroller on the mountain — and will now spend even more time thinking about trails and open space as the town’s Parks, Open Space and Trails manager.
(He still plans on spending a day or two a month as a patroller on weekends once the snow falls, he said.)
He started the new full-time position about two weeks ago, filling the role previously held by Starr Jamison. Hawksley will take over the “Trail Talk” column this summer on the third Wednesday in July, August and September — but first, the Snowmass Sun met Hawksley in Town Park for an interview June 10.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Snowmass Sun: What drew you to level up and go from (the seasonal) trails crew to this (full-time position)?
Brandon Hawksley: A few different reasons. I’m constantly trying to improve myself and my skill set. The wife and I are due (for our first child) in August. …
The year-round opportunity came up, I put my time in down here, and I was ready for the next step. … I figured this kind of gave me the opportunity to combine what I’ve been doing for 10 years already and also taking on more of a supervisory role.
SS: Will you still be spending a lot of time in the field or a bit more time in the office now?
BH: More time in the office than in the field. I’ll try to get out and work with the crew as much as I can on projects. … We have a knockout crew this year, so I couldn’t be happier with those guys. They seem to be crushing it already so it’s been a great start.
SS: I know there are a couple of different projects going on in the park and trails (realm). Are there any big things that your focus is turned to right now for the summer?
BH: Major projects on the horizon would be the entryway redevelopment, which would be a big parks and open space development for our department. That’s still kind of in the planning phase, survey phase. It has been approved and is moving forward. I would probably expect that construction to begin in the next couple years or so.
Another major project is (that the town is) planning on redeveloping (the Snowmass Center) which would in turn reroute a couple of our trails behind the center — specifically the Mountain View trail. So there’s plans in the works for that trail to get extended and actually continue over and tie into the Melton Ranch trail.
Big goals for me for this year (are) to just kind of get the lay of the land in the new role. We’re going to (place) a lot of focus on maintaining the trail system we currently have, which has been a process that started about five years ago, and we’ll continue to make improvements and enhance the overall trail system and parks system that we currently have.
SS: I know this might be like choosing a favorite child, but do you have a favorite trail or park or open space in Snowmass?
BH: That’s a good question. My favorite ride would probably be Connector to Village Bound, I enjoy that. Tom Blake’s always a classic whether you’re hiking, biking, horseback riding, that’s probably right up there as well.
SS: Is there anything you are nervous about or that seems a bit daunting about the position?
BH: I think the biggest part is just having done the outside part of things for 10 years and having a good understanding of that. Now moving into more the planning and operation side of things, I have a lot to learn on the inside. But I’d say so far for the first week I’d consider it a success. I’m just more focused on the inside stuff at this point.
SS: Anything that you’re especially excited about going into it?
BH: Just something new, learning new stuff and then continuing to improve a community asset that I think draws a lot of people to this village throughout the year, whether it’s skiing or hiking (and) biking in the summertime. We have a ton of our amenities right in our backyard that we’re pretty fortunate to have and lucky to have and I’m looking forward to starting a family here.
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