Photo: 2020 National Public Lands Day Sherman Creek Crew after another successful project for the Grand County Trails System. Photo courtesy of Diana Lynn Rau
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) in Grand County is one of the longest-running celebrations of NPLD in the country, with local gatherings dating back to 1995, a year after the national day was first established. NPLD is always the fourth Saturday of September: this year it was on Saturday, September 26. NPLD is now a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, although each NPLD event found around the country is locally based and locally run.
This year’s event in Grand County was not advertised widely until September, in order to understand what effect COVID-19 restrictions might have on the event. The coordinating committee, which consists of Meara McQuain from Headwaters Trails Alliance (HTA), Law Thyne of Carver’s Bakery, and Jeremy D. Krones from Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, as well as representatives from each of the regionally-based public lands agencies, decided on some changes to the usual event in order to keep Grand County’s record strong.
This year there were four volunteer projects, as well as a BioBlitz hosted online at iNaturalist.org, and other promoted events online, such as a new documentary about public lands in the USA. The four projects were spaced around the county, with one in Rendezvous and the others in the vicinity of Tabernash, Grand Lake, and Kremmling. The Rendezvous project was with Headwaters Trails Alliance and consisted of trail maintenance, corridor clearing, and drainage work. The Strawberry/Phases project, located just north of Tabernash along the Fraser River, was hosted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and HTA, and was focused on constructing two new bridges on a new trail. The Sherman Creek project near Grand Lake was with the US Forest Service to build a new split rail fence at the trailhead. The Colorado River Clean-up south of Kremmling, an annual event that usually draws over a hundred volunteers, was hosted as usual by the BLM.
Over 40 volunteers registered through NPLD-GC across the four projects, but groups and teams from other organizations also showed up, including the High Country River Rafters and the Rocky Mountain Conservation Corps. Funding and support for the day came from private donations, USFS, BLM, Carver’s Bakery, HTA, Fraser Valley Distilling, and the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers, and Trails Fund.
If you would like to contribute to future NPLD events in Grand County, please contact Headwaters Trails Alliance: PO Box 946, Granby, CO 80446-0946 or visit headwaterstrails.org/.
We look forward to next year’s NPLD-GC event, and hope to see you out on the land!