We are starting a new feature in the e-news -- the RMFI Cowbell. We have a tradition at the RMFI office where we celebrate our successes by ringing a cowbell. This monthly blurb will provide an update of project and program successes.
The late winter snowpack in Southern Colorado has forced us to be flexible about the timing of our early-season projects. We started our season in April by helping the City to finish the construction of the new Powell Connector Trail in North Cheyenne Canon. The trail is a hit, particularly among mountain bikers, as it provides a logical connection between the Upper Columbine Trail and the Powell Parking Area on Gold Camp Road. In May, we did our best to continue to restore trails in the Bear Creek Watershed, utilizing grant support from the Colorado Watershed Conservation Board's Healthy River Fund. However, a snowstorm forced us out of Jones Park early so we'll be returning later in the season to continue to protect the habitat of the last pure population of the greenback cutthroat trout.
Despite the challenging weather, RMFI ran 59 workdays in April and 78 in May. We started a new stewardship program at Guffey Gorge, a popular swimming hole in Park County, and all of the RMFI Field Staff are now certified Leave No Trace Trainers. Josh, Jamie, and Jarrod got their S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaw Certificates, and Porter got trained up on using a crosscut saw.
Since 2014, RMFI has assisted El Paso County with restoration and trail improvement objectives at the Black Forest Regional Park and the Pineries Open Space. This spring, we ran 9 days with our youth corps and community partners to construct over 3,400 feet of the new North West Trail. Stay tuned for more information about opportunities to construct trail at the Pineries Open Space, prior to the opening of the park to the public this fall.
In other news, the RMFI cowbell rang three times on May 17th, one time for each of three successful grant awards! The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance granted us $10,000 for our work on the Kit Carson-Challenger Point Trail Improvement Project, and the Clif Bar Family Foundation is contributing $2,500 for the same project. These project funds are further leveraged by grant support from the National Forest Foundation and Colorado Parks & Wildlife. To cap off the day, REI let us know we are the recipients of a $10,000 grant for our upcoming trail work on Barr Trail and Gray Back Peak. Gray Back is new RMFI project this season. We will help the U.S. Forest Service construct a re-route of the summit trail this summer.
Rolling into June, we have 87 project days lined up across eight separate project sites. We will really get going with the new Devil's Playground Trail Improvement Project, where we have 18 workdays planned in partnership with Mile High Youth Corps. We'll also be partnering with the Incline Friends and Friends of the Peak to begin this year's maintenance on the Barr Trail.
Finally (but not lastly, we could go on all day...), RMFI is deep into the Re-Imagine Waldo Canyon planning process. We have co-hosted two public meetings so far, and the third and final community open house will take place on October 23rd at the Westside Community Center. Thanks to all who have participated so far. Visit waldocanyonplanning.com to get caught up on the current concepts for Waldo Canyon.
More cowbell coming next month!