|Dear Friend of the Peak --
In the sections below you can read in the Projects Review what our volunteers accomplished in 2014. You will also find an article about Bill Hilton, our Volunteer of the Year; and then a list of all the people that we can thank by name who volunteered on Friends of the Peak projects in 2014
This newsletter focuses on our volunteers. You are so vital to everything that Friends of the Peak does.
We worked on 8 trails on Pikes Peak this year, with 25 projects and over 300 volunteers. We don't have an exact count of volunteers because we didn't handle the paperwork for fall Incline projects. That also means that we cannot list the names of the people who volunteered on those projects, but we're grateful for their contribution, also, along with all the volunteers that we can name.
Now we're planning for 2015. Since most of the trails we work on are on Forest Service land, we work with them on their priorities, and always have a list of trails we'd like to work on. Then we work to fit what we can into a schedule for the season. Before we do any work, our plans receive approval from four different agencies. We hope to have everything set by March.
People volunteer on trail projects for a variety of reasons. It helps improve the trails and the trail experience for everyone. It's a great way to get some exercise, and in a great location, usually with some pretty awesome scenery. Volunteers also meet and socialize with some great people -- other Friends of the Peak volunteers.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered with us and supported us in other ways. You're all very important people.
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|2014 PROJECT REVIEW|
Friends of the Peak had another successful project season, thanks to all our volunteers. We had 25 project days and more than 257 volunteer days, which does not include the numbers for the joint fall Incline projects.
This year, we worked on many of the same trails we worked on last year. The Thursday projects started on Seven Bridges Trail, then shifted to Saint Mary's Falls Trail. Volunteers repaired damage from the September 2013 storms on Seven Bridges. They also worked on other erosion damage and improved drainage.
We also worked on the Crags route to the summit. This year, we worked below Devil's Playground, and reached the work site from the Pikes Peak Highway. A section of the trail goes steeply uphill. It was eroding, and hikers were walking beside the trail to avoid the loose rocks and ruts, killing the tundra plants, which will lead to more erosion. Volunteers added drains to move water off the trail, to slow the erosion, stabilized the trail, and worked to make the braided trails uninviting so that trail users would stay on the trail and preserve the tundra plants.
Friends of the Peak joined Incline Friends and Colorado Springs Parks and Rec on projects for the Incline. One project worked to close and restore social trails and remove rock from the Incline and fill ruts. Other projects helped build the new return trail from the top of the Incline to Barr Trail.
As always, we had several projects on Barr Trail. Through generous offers of transportation for projects, we were able to reach sections that had not had any work done for a while. The Cog Railway took tools and volunteers up in the train to the Mountain View station, where the volunteers walked over to Barr Trail, then worked to improve drainage on the trail above Barr Camp. The Cog put in extra effort to transport the tools up and down. Before the Ascent and Marathon, the race support people drove volunteers and tools up Longs Ranch Road and over to Barr Trail. We were able to remove trail hazards, including some really nasty tangles of roots. In September, our friends from AdAmAn joined us again. They hiked about two miles up the trail to improve drainage and widen the trail. We also had an impromptu project just before the races. A locally heavy thunderstorm had washed gravel and dirt onto the spur trail and Barr Trail. Some willing volunteers removed the material and leveled out the trail. We also had another Eagle project replacing missing, broken, and badly rotted rails in the fencing. With that, we've made it up to the 14th switchback replacing rails.
We returned to South Slope this summer to ensure the trails were ready when South Slope opened. On one of the project days, volunteers spent longer than expected as they were caught in Woodland Park when U.S. 24 closed through Ute Pass because of flash flood dangers and mud slides. It was very gratifying when South Slope opened, even for a short time, in October, and trail users were able to enjoy trails that Friends of the Peak volunteers had been working to build for 5 years.
Friends of the Peak also helped build the Iron Mountain Trail, the trail filling the gap in the Intemann Trail. Shanti Toll coordinated the overall effort, and several of the projects, with trail organizations, including Friends of the Peak, coordinating specific projects. Iron Mountain Trail officially opened in August. Not only did this complete the Intemann Trail, but also filled one of the gaps in the Ring the Peak trail system.
2014 was a busy year. Volunteers accomplished quite a bit. Even small groups of volunteers did some astounding work improving the trails. They got a different kind of exercise than one usually gets using the trails, and were able to do it while enjoying the outdoors, some pretty amazing scenery, and the company of some of the best people around, Friends of the Peak volunteers!
|VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR -- Bill Hilton
Our volunteer of the year this year is Bill Hilton. Bill is more of a volunteer of the decade. He's been regularly volunteering with Friends of
the Peak since 2003 and helps on several projects each year. In 2014,
Bill worked on 7 projects with Friends of the Peak, and on more Iron Mountain projects.
Here is a message from him:
name is Bill Hilton, and I have been asked to write a little about my
volunteer experience with FOTP.
started with FOTP some 10 plus years ago. I was on the Crags to
Devils Playground trail and came across a group of folks doing trail
maintenance. It looked like they were having a pretty good time
doing some useful outdoor work. I asked if they wanted any help
(Mary Burger was in charge back then), and the rest is history.
you have spent much time hiking trails around Pikes Peak, you have
probably come across an FOTP work group. Usually about a quarter of
the volunteers are old guys with a lot of grey. That would be my
work with other volunteer trail groups from time to time (Red Rock
Canyon, Intemann, Cheyenne Mountain State Park), and they are all
fun, but FOTP has always been my first choice. (And once a year they
throw a dinner with free food!)
doing trail work for a while, you begin to appreciate how much work
goes into building new (and maintaining old) trails. When out
hiking, you find yourself thinking about the condition of the trail,
what you would do to improve it, or maybe how you helped build it.
work is rewarding, good exercise, and sometimes exciting. The last
Devils Playground work day included wind and hail and lightning. It
does not get more fun than that!
Thank you to everyone who volunteered!
Steve BremnerLatanya Brown
Again, thank you to everyone who volunteered!