By Lynn Burton
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
For some local nonprofits, it seems as if they’ve been around forever. Take Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), which works with the Forest Service and other agencies to repair and build trails on public lands, and undertake projects that state and federal agencies can’t afford.
RFOV is marking its 22nd year of improving access to public lands through the work of volunteer crews. “We’ve accomplished quite a lot since our first project season in 1995, when we had only three projects and 105 volunteers,” said RFOV Director David Hamilton on the nonprofit’s website. “Since that small start we have engaged more than 21,283 volunteers on a broad range of trail and conservation projects from Rifle to Aspen.”
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers releases its 2017 project schedule and offers a sign up list with a pizza party at the Third Street Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 6.
“While you’re enjoying free pizza provided by White House pizza, learn about the nonprofit’s upcoming volunteer trail and conservation projects set for 2017. This is the perfect place to meet supporters and volunteers who have a similar desire to improve public lands through trail work and conservation projects,” said a RFOV press release.
Ten major projects are planned this summer for public lands from Aspen to Rifle, including weekday and weekend projects. Volunteers will be working in breathtaking locations such as Capitol Lake Trail and the Hanging Lake/Spouting Rock trails. Among the variety of project options RFOV offers, volunteers can bring the kiddos out for a day of family volunteering alongside the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale, or you can venture out into the backcountry for a full weekend on Capitol Lake Trail. Dinners are provided with every project.
Based in Basalt, RFOV is dedicated to promoting the stewardship of public lands by engaging the community in volunteer trail work and other long-lasting conservation projects.
There are more than 1,000 miles of trails in the Roaring Fork Valley that need maintenance, according to the RFOV website.
“We pride ourselves on collaborating with other organizations to accomplish long-lasting trail and restoration projects,” it says.
This year’s schedule consists of:
• Carbondale River put-ins, Carbondale, May 6. Volunteer to improve the heavily used boat ramp on the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale.
• Blue Ribbon Trail reroute, Red Hill, Carbondale, May 20. Help complete a reroute of this heavily used trail on Red Hill.
• Skyline Ridge Trail, Sky Mountain Park, Aspen/Snowmass Village, Tuesday evenings, June 6 and 13. Volunteers will work to reroute one of the last steep sections onto a sustainable grade.
• Prockter open space wetland, Aspen, July 8. Volunteers will help to create another thriving wetland in the heart of Aspen along the Roaring Fork River.
• Hunter Creek valley weed pull, Aspen, July 15. The thistle and houndstongue are out of control in the Hunter Creek valley. Volunteers will work to reach areas that have to be removed by hand.
• The Crown evening projects near Carbondale: Tuesday evenings, July 25 through Aug. 15. Help build new single-track trail for the Crown trail system. Locations will be announced.
• Capitol Lake Trail, south of Basalt, August 18-20, a three-day project with backpack camping. The project will reconstruct, repair and restore damaged sections of the trail two to six miles from the trailhead.
• Hanging Lake/Spouting Rock Trail, Glenwood Springs, Sept. 9-10. Volunteers will take on many tasks including installation of stone steps, sanding and staining benches, and restoring impacted areas. The trail will be closed to the public during the project.
• North of Colorow Trail, New Castle, Sept. 30. Volunteers will work to improve two user-created trails north of the Colorow Trail.
• Colorado River Trail, Rifle, Oct. 14. Volunteers will build a new soft-surface trail as part of a new boat ramp and trail system on the south bank of the Colorado River.
To RSVP to the April 6 party or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 927-8241.