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Posted on: November 30, 2017

County ‘Trails Strike Force’ Wraps Up First Season

TrailsStrikeForceTeamGPass.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

County ‘Trails Strike Force’ Wraps Up First Season

Nov. 30, 2017 - Clear Creek County Communications, Colo. – The Clear Creek County Trails Strike Force finished its 2017 season, and reports are looking good.  Tasked with planning, designing, building and maintaining trails within the County, the team began in May and finished last month.  Working with an annual budget of $142K, the team worked on several areas of the more than 100 miles of trails within Clear Creek County using everything from ATVs, chainsaws and brute strength. 

James Kovaly, Trails Supervisor, led the efforts of three seasonal and one full-time employee.  “Beginning the process for the first year, I was very proud of how our team came together to do something the county had never done before,” Kovaly said.  According to Mr. Kovaly, his team had to deal with miles of trails that had been untouched for years, installing trailheads and gates, removing rocks and fallen trees, repairing bridges, fixing drainage problems and building some new trails.  Most if not all the trails are useable now, and in good shape for hikers, bikers and other trail users. 

“Regulations were definitely a challenge, and collaboration was key,” Kovaly said, referring to working with various agencies, volunteer organizations and trail managers involved in and around the trails within the County. Those partners included both Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties’ Open Space, local municipalities, the US Forest Service, Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Mountain Bike Association, professional trail contractors, and County Staff. 

 

As they say, “People, Parking and Poop” are the biggest problems, which Kovaly found to be true.

Based on his 25 years of trails experience, Kovaly said ‘user conflict’ is one of the biggest challenges a trails manager and team face.  From motorized vs. non-motorized trails, trails assessments and ratings, to installing accurate kiosk signs/maps and figuring out the best way to fix or change a trail (according to terrain and safety considerations), his team did yeoman’s work.  This involved everything from preventing erosion by modifying grades and implementing drainage solutions, to circumnavigating the thousands of private mines/mine claims around the County, and continuous planning to ensure things were done right. 

“We were ambassadors of sorts,” he added---referring to the interaction he and his team had with trail users, town governments, and others. 

When asked about the highlights to their first season, the Signature Trails (Silver Dale System, Rutherford Trail, 7:30 Mine, Argentine Central, Silver Creek, etc.) were mentioned.  He also talked about the 1.3 miles of new trail at Floyd Hill Open Space and 20 complimentary parking spots—all worked in partnership with MALT (Mountain Area Land Trust), Jefferson County & Clear Creek Open Space, and professional contractors. 

And, the work continues.  Kovaly is already creating the 2018 work plan (which begins in May 2018).  One of his goals before next season starts is to update the County’s trails website content for residents and visitors to use.  Efforts will include funding proposals for projects, finding grant opportunities, getting the equipment and materials/tools ready, and preparing for the next season. 

“Volunteers and community involvement were key,” he said.  “Knowing that we spent time on trail systems basically untouched for years and built them into something that’s good for residents, tourism and economic development… we feel our efforts are going to good use.”   


Top Picture From left:  Bobby Efird, Brian Flores (Bflo) and Brady Scott.

 -CCC-

For more information, contact John Bryan, Communications Director, at 303-679-2307, or email:  jbryan@co.clear-creek.co.us.     

                             

Clear Creek County Official Website:  http://www.co.clear-creek.co.us/

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