When CFI performed baseline route condition inventories in 2011-2013, Mount Shavano, near Salida, ranked near the bottom of the list with an “F” rating. A second inventory in 2015 revealed that its condition continued to worsen as the unstable slopes continue to erode at a rapid rate. Delay in reconstructing the route will make any future trail reconstruction projects more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive to complete. Mount Shavano has long been among the top statewide priorities for future trail development. However, before the USFS will allow CFI to proceed with this project, legal access for the planned, sustainably-aligned trail to the summit of Shavano must be obtained.
The current socially-created trail crosses through several privately-owned mining claims on the shoulder and up to the summit. The Forest Service’s planned route will cross the three northernmost of 10 privately owned mining claims. Last year, CFI started working with a Salida-based attorney to contact landowners of the mining claims in hopes to purchase the lands or access easements. CFI was tipped off by a BLM survery employee and 14er enthusiast that the location of the private lands on Shavano might be incorrectly placed on most maps. The impact is that Shavano’s summit is located on private land. This fall, CFI’s Executive Director found one of the original 1902 wooden survey markers, which confirmed that the summit of the peak is privately owned.
CFI researched the selling price of similarly situated high-elevation mining claims with no road access, and contacted landowners in Colorado, Florida, and Arkansas to sign options to purchase the private lands. The majority of the $40,000 needed to complete this project was provided through two major donors – the estate of Michael O’Brien and the Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation – while the final $6,500+ was raised in a single weekend through a social media driven fundraiser.
With signed options in place and the necessary funding required to move forward in hand, CFI hopes to officially own the land by the end of 2016. Once CFI has completed the trail reconstruction and restoration on Mount Shavano’s summit route, the land will be donated to the Forest Service so that it can become part of the publicly owned 14er trail system.
See more about this project in these local media articles: