“Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” This quote by Mattie Stephanek was used in 2015 by HTA to describe how National Public Lands Day works.  This annual event where hundreds of people get together, work hard, have fun, and achieve so much for Public Lands epitomizes the meaning of her words. This is your chance to give back to the trails you love by getting together, working hard whether it is in the field manning a shovel or helping with registration or food preparation, have fun with like-minded participants comparing stories and solving world problems, and together achieving more in one day that the US Forest Service could accomplish in three years.  Join us Saturday, 22 September 2018 at 7am at the Grand Lake Community Center for a day filled with breakfast, project registration, buses or vans to the projects, hard work, and all followed by a Volunteer Thank You party with pizza, lasagna dinner, beer and wine (for those of age), thank you prizes, music and more! The colors should be fantastic. We hope for a beautiful Autumn day in the wilderness but, as always, be prepared for anything!

The mission of National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is to promote volunteer awareness in protecting and sustaining public lands through an annual event of trail education, maintenance, and construction, thereby building advocacy and ownership for our public lands, and strengthening cooperation and communication among public agencies, communities and businesses.

Twenty-four years ago, our government services like US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife combined with the trails non-profit partner HTA and volunteer groups for the first National Public Lands Day, one of three locations in the United States. Since then, NPLD has rocked in Grand County.  We are the largest continuous project with the most volunteers and longest list of accomplishments in the entire country! Grand County ‘s NPLD is a huge success because of its dedicated volunteers as well as the many businesses and government entities that participate and the variety of projects offered. Volunteers come from as far away as Boston and many come back year after year. Each project is geared toward certain types of outdoor enthusiasts such as motorized vehicle users, mountain bikers, river rafters, anglers, hikers and equestrians.

You don’t have to be an athlete to participate in NPLD.  There are less physical jobs both out in the field or just help get out coffee or breakfast or register people for projects or hand out T-shirts.  The physically disabled and those not in trail-building shape are more than welcome. For those who can’t be there the day of NPLD, there are preparations for projects and publicity to get out, arrangements to be made for thank you gift certificates for the drawings at the Volunteer Party, and even party decorations to do and music to arrange for.  It takes a lot of helpers to make a huge operation like this a success. Let us know if you want to join our team…

Projects for this year include:

1.Continental Divide Trail Gateway [Town of Grand Lake]: Installing new CDT signs, staining posts, branding boardwalks, and marking crosswalks. EASY TO MODERATE

2.East Shore Trail [NPS/HTA]: Work will consist of trail reroutes, brushing, lopping, clearing and installing water/erosion controls.  EASY TO DIFFICULT

3.Sherman Creek Trail [USFS]: Project will be constructing a connector trail between Illinois Pass and Gilsonite motorized trails in the Stillwater Pass Area. Work may consist of creating turnpikes, brushing, lopping, clearing, and installing water/erosion controls. Site will accommodate 35+ enthusiastic volunteers that love to get dirty!  MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

4. Upper Colorado River Cleanup & Argentine Trail [BLM]: Join the BLM in the 9th Annual River Cleanup, clearing trash and debris along a 19 mile-three-section stretch of the Colorado River, beginning at Pumphouse Recreation Area to Two Rivers. All work is accessed by floating the river. Space is available for approximately 50 volunteers who do not have their own boats with preregistration highly recommended. If you are providing your own boat, then pre-registration is not necessary. Volunteers can meet at Pumphouse Recreation Area. This is a family-friendly work site. Participants are encouraged to bring their own boats, PFDs, and/or paddles. For more information or to pre-register, contact John Monkouski at (970) 724-3040. BLM will also host a work site at Pumphouse doing routine trail maintenance along the Argentine Trail installing water/erosion controls, clearing, brushing and other maintenance.   EASY TO MODERATE

Sign up ahead of time (especially if you plan to do the river cleanup and don’t own a boat) or just show up by 7am at the Grand Lake Community Center 22 September to sign up for the project of your choice and pick up your free commemorative T-shirt and various goodies.  A free continental breakfast will be available until the buses depart for projects about 745am. In line with our green approach, don’t forget to bring your own lunch and water bottle. Dress appropriately for outside conditions and always have sunscreen-hat-eye protection with you.  We also suggest gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes and maybe raingear since weather changes rapidly in Colorado.

At the end of the day, we all return to Grand Lake for pizza and a delicious Lasagna dinner complete with dessert and music by Red Dirt Hill.  Everyone who contributes to the success of Grand County’s NPLD gets a ticket for a chance to win prizes donated by the community such as rounds of golf, ski tickets, outdoor gear or meals at local restaurants.  

For more information, stop by the US Forest Service in Granby or call 970-887-4120.  You can also contact Headwaters Trails Alliance Executive Director Meara McQuain at 970-726-1013 or visit the grand county National Public Lands Day Facebook page and add yourself to our team.  People registering in advance will receive a volunteer packet filled with information about event day if time allows.

Hope to see you 22 September at the Grand Lake Community Center! Join the team…