With each passing year here at RMFI, we accomplish another 'banner year' in the scope of our reach in environmental stewardship. Here is a re-cap of just a few of our achievements from the 2015 field season:
Mount Muscoco Trail: RMFI spent more than 2 weeks working with the Friends of Cheyenne Canon to construct the new Mount Muscoco Trail. The re-route of what was a user-created trail is now easier to follow and less damaging to the mixed-conifer landscape. Topping out at 8,020 feet, the summit of Muscoco is the highest point on City of Colorado Springs property.
Pistol Whipped Trail: After three seasons of work on the new Pistol Whipped Trail, RMFI completed the project to this popular crag at the world-renowned Indian Creek Canyon in southern Utah. This project was old-school RMFI. Climbers, students, and volunteers came from across the desert to rally this project to completion.
Top of the Mountain Trail: The much-anticipated access to the top of Cheyenne Mountain is a step closer to completion after RMFI completed the 3.1-mile Top of the Mountain trail circuit. RMFI will turn its attention to the Dixon Trail in 2016. The Dixon will connect the 'bottom' of the state park to the Top of the Mountain, eventually providing access to the recently completed trail circuit.
Kit Carson-Challenger Ridge Summit Trail: 2015 marked the official start to the multi-year Kit Carson-Challenger Ridge Trail Improvement Project. RMFI ran its trademark Earth Corps program and partnered with the Southwest Conservation Corps for a total of 8 weeks of work on the project. The work RMFI oversees on Colorado's highest peaks is impressive in its scale and ambition.
Garden of the Gods: The decades-long stewardship of the iconic Colorado Springs landscape continued in a big way in 2015. Over the course of 50-plus workdays in the park, community volunteers rallied together to protect the natural amenities of the multi-use east side, as well as providing better access to the classic New Era climbing route on Gray Rock.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space: May of 2015 was the wettest month on record in Colorado Springs. The deluge of rain caused dams to breach in Red Rock Open Space, resulting in damage to trails and meadows. RMFI rallied its dedicated volunteer base to improve the Quarry Pass Trail and Sand Canyon dam breach site. This project was exemplary of RMFI's dedication to the protection of public lands in the region and helped lead to the re-opening of the Open Space in July.
What's in store for 2016? We are busy planning projects and already we are slated for more than 400 field days for the season. That's an increase of more than 67%. We will maintain our presence at legacy sites like Garden of the Gods and Kit Carson, as well as venturing into new public lands like Palmer Park and Ute Valley Open Space. Partnerships with local Friends groups will strengthen, and we are excited to continue to partner with youth corps organizations like Mile High Youth Corps and Southwest Conservation Corps.
For more information about past and present RMFI projects, visit the RMFI projects page on our website.