Every summer, CFI’s Adopt-a-Peak crew travels around the state to tackle high-priority maintenance projects among the Fourteeners. Our Adopt crew works with many different groups of volunteers that range in age, ability, and trail work experience. This calls for a special and dynamic team. This year, our Adopt Crew consisted of two crew leaders, Dylan Barbash and Rebecca Egan, and our Kimberly Appelson Outdoor Leadership Intern Patricia Franco. Together, they completed work on 22 peaks, partnered with 21 organizations, and accomplished 51 total project days. That’s a lot of Fourteener time!
The experience of traveling to numerous peaks and working with different volunteer groups can be demanding but rewarding. Patricia Franco reflects on her experience below: “The Adopt-a-Peak program differs from other fixed site projects in that, as crew leaders, we spent our days moving around the state of Colorado, working on many peaks between four trail crew leaders. Sometimes these peaks were those in our backyard, such as Belford, Missouri, Masssive, Elbert or Huron, but sometimes they were as far away as Wetterhorn in the San Juan range, or Capitol Peak just outside of Aspen.
“Though we had to work with a wide variety of volunteer groups, I enjoyed the challenges it presented. I liked having to adjust to each mountain and each group because it kept the job fresh each and every day. There is no cookie cutter way to lead a group of volunteers and there was never a fixed plan for the work we ended up doing each day. We adapted to every unique crew as one adapts to their environment, adjusting and making changes accordingly. If the crew was younger, we would do tasks that were less physically demanding, but still very important, such as restoration work. If the crew seemed more gung-ho about the prospect of lifting heavy rocks after a long and grueling hike to the work site, we would let them expend their energy hauling massive hunks of granite in rock slings over to a site that needed a backwall installed to prevent erosion, or to one that needed steps to make the grade of the trail more sustainable.
“Projects that were only a day long were those I found most difficult because of the time constraint it presented. Sometimes, we would finish one section of backwall and be hesitant to start another larger section for fear that it would not get finished and would be left undone until we made it back to that particular peak. There were also certain trails, such as the South Elbert trail, which had very limited rock sources, forcing us to quarry rocks from great distances. This made time management difficult because the quarrying itself could take a half day. CFI would like to thank all of the following groups who provided us with hard-working and dedicated volunteers this year on our Adopt Projects:
Markit On Demand
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
Colorado Department of Health
Sanborn Western Camps
Colvig Silver Camps
Western State College
Fort Lewis College
SWCA Environmental Consultants
Colorado State University Outdoor Adventure Pursuits Program
Colorado Mountain Club
Colorado University Hiking Club
Friends of Dillon Ranger District
CFI would also like to extend gratitude towards the partners that helped make these projects possible this year:
Laura Jane Musser Fund
The Summit Foundation
National Forest Foundation
Aspen Skiing Environment Foundation
City of Aspen
Kimberly Appelson Endowment Fund
Booz Allen Hamilton
Town of Breckenridge
Town of Dillon
Town of Silverthorne
Bold Earth Teen Adventures
Finally, CFI would like to thank our Adopt leaders Dylan, Rebecca, and Patricia for conducting great work and admirably leading all of our Adopt volunteers. We look forward to another great year of work with our Adopt crew in 2015!