“Stay High on the Budd Trail”
“It was a day to go down in the memory bank forever.”
Dave Ochs, secretary for Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, was awed by the turnout and results of National Trails Day on June 5. Locally the trail work day turned out roughly 180 volunteers and burned in a new 1.5-mile stretch of singletrack off the Lower Loop: the Budd Trail.
The trail is named for Russell and Dorothy Budd, who approached the Crested Butte Land Trust two years ago about creating an easement and a trail on their property. Once the pieces were in place, the CBLT approached CBMBA about building the trail.
When asked why she decided to pursue the Budd Trail project, Dorothy Budd said she and her husband, Russell, would often look around their property and talk about connecting a trail to the Woods Walk/Lower Loop.
“I kept saying, ‘We need to put a trail up there!’ One of the things we liked when we first came to Crested Butte is there are so many things you can do close to town and not have to drive.”
“You go to Jackson Hole, you have to drive 45 minutes to a trailhead.”
Dorothy Budd was amazed by CBMBA’s ability to construct a trail in such a short amount of time. “I had no idea how much work those people could do in that amount of time, that a trail could be completed in three to four hours.”
Ochs spoke to how it rides… “It adds the possibility to make some figure eights with the Lower Loop, it disperses use quite a bit when the Lower Loop is rather crowded, and offers a more intermediate/expert possibility, all so close to town. The Lower Loop sees a lot of traffic. The Budd Trail is a great way to relieve impact through that dispersed use, and ultimately provides more recreation for the fine people of Crested Butte and beyond.”
As for the construction of the trail, CBMBA led the charge. Ochs described the trail-building process: “Due to the steep terrain, and maintaining a higher line on the hillside in order to stay in the trees and not be so visible from below, we needed to make a Full Bench Trail. It needed to be excavated on the high side, out-sloped to sheet water off, and back-sloped to naturally exist without affecting the landscape. The trail changes grade very often, and should shed water real nice.”
The collaborative effort between the Budds, CBLT and CBMBA resulted in the construction of a great new trail, and also set an example for what collaboration can achieve.
Ann Johnston, director of CBLT, said “We have been talking to [the Budds] for probably two years. Working with really generous landowners, going through the process… then getting your hands dirty and the trail work done… That’s what it’s all about.”
Overall, Dorothy Budd is happy that people will have access to a brand new trail, and is so enthusiastic about the project that she even donated “Stay High on the Budd Trail” t-shirts to CBMBA to help raise money for the non-profit.
“I thought everyone worked really well together,” Budd said. “It’s neat to see somebody using the trail—people in Crested Butte are so respectful, you never see as much as a gum wrapper on a trail. I only wish we could make it longer. Now we need [a public trail] to Baxter’s Gulch.”
Ochs wanted to give credit to everyone who helped make the Budd Trail a reality: “So many thanks to all who showed up, the Trail Crew Leaders from all over, the Crested Butte Land Trust, the CBMBA board and officers for their hard work, and for the good people and businesses that sponsor CBMBA. “Most important, Dori and Russell Budd for their shared vision of love for our backyard, and the ability and means to recreate in it.”
Now, all that’s left to do is get out there, ride it or hike it, and “Stay high on the Budd Trail.”