Wilderness trail stewardship organization Poudre Wilderness Volunteers is launching a GoFundMe campaign, “Reopen Your Favorite Trails,” on Tuesday, March 30.
The Cameron Peak fire was the state’s largest wildfire as it destroyed and burned over 206,000 acres of the Roosevelt National Forest. There are 122 miles of trails within the burned areas, with more than 42 miles being severely damaged.
“The GoFundMe will go to any supplies our volunteers will need or hiring human labor,” said Jeffery Randa, a volunteer with Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV). “The more we can get, the faster we can move, so we are gonna ply the experiences from the High Park fire into processes and labor and supplies to help speed up what we can do with the Cameron Peak,” Jeffery said.
PWV consists of volunteers who receive no payment whatsoever. Jeffery volunteers and works to help PWV with its campaigns.
The Cameron Peak fire also destroyed trails that allow community members to experience the beauty of the wilderness. PWV has been working to protect and maintain trails within the mountains along the Front Range over the course of the last 25 years.
“We started back after the High Park fire when the forest service came to us and asked if we could step up and help repair all the trails that were damaged in that fire,” said Mike Corbin, Chair of Restoration Committee for PWV. “With this fire, our priority is in spring and summer what damage gets done from snowmelt and rain and erosion in those areas for the next hundred years, and our first job is figuring out what needs to be done,” Mike said.
More than one-third of these charred hiking trails will remain closed for many years unless they are rebuilt. The forest service has a budget to hire county crews consisting of college-aged outdoorsy people who will perform trail drainage, rebuild trails, reconstruct bridges, remove dangerous trees, and re-open access to the wilderness alongside Mike and forest service workers in June of this year.
There will be three work weekends in late June, July, and August this year, where PWV will invite the public to work on trail restoration on Saturdays and Sundays. PWV additionally works with local non-profit organizations such as Overland Bike Club and Colorado Mountain Club to get workers involved.
Tasks regarding serving as a Poudre Wilderness Volunteer are as follows:
- Serve as volunteer Rangers for the USFS
- Launch patrols to survey trail conditions
- Remove dangerous and fallen trees
- Repair bridges
- Recruit members of the local communities to safely assist our crews in trail building
“We all get absorbed by the beauty, the expansive views, and the freedom to explore in the wilderness,” said Mike Corbin, PWV Board chair and Trail Restoration committee chair. “Dealing with the impact of the largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history is way beyond normal everyday efforts, and we need all the help we can get to restore these trails,” Mike said.