“Sign a waiver, grab a tool, grab two tools and head on up”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) is sending out the bat signal to all trail users, members and anyone else looking to help out its annual overnight trail work on Saturday and Sunday, August 24-25 in the Cement Creek drainage.
There’s a section of the Cement Creek Road that has posed numerous close calls and dicey situations for outdoor recreationists—even more so now with the number of visitors rising exponentially each summer. I’m speaking specifically about the section of road just below the Cement Creek Ranch where the road gets narrow with a raging creek on one side and a cliff on the other. Throw in a steep grade and a blind turn and it’s a miracle no one has been seriously injured there. Or maybe they have.
“That section of road has Razors, motos, cars and moms on it,” says CBMBA director Dave Ochs. “This will take non-motorized trail users off of that.”
That will all be mitigated now as CBMBA is organizing its annual trail work overnighter this summer to build 1.07 miles of trail to circumvent that section of road. The new section of trail they plan to build starts at the winter trailhead and heads up the hillside, up around the cliff face in that canyon and will then hit the Warm Springs trail one mile up from the bottom of the trail. If you’re familiar with the Warm Springs trail, it will connect in the open meadow section just before the short climb up to start the final descent to the road.
The area set for the trail is rugged and CBMBA is going to need everyone they can get out there to help out.
“There’s a lot of very hard work to do,” says Ochs. “There will be massive rock work, steep slopes needing bench cuts. It’s a massive, massive job. Probably the most difficult terrain we’ve worked in. We need the community in full force.”
The end result though, will give Cement Creek trail users another loop option and, while it is predominantly uphill starting at the Cement Creek campground, it is all downhill when traveling down valley.
“It’s going to be one of the greatest loop additions,” says Ochs. “It will be the first time we’ve built a very much downhill trail.”
The weekend is sponsored by Pinnacle Orthopedics, allowing CBMBA to roll out the red carpet for all volunteers. Rim Tours will be there to cater the affair, Ska Brewing is donating massive amounts of adult beverages, Camp 4 coffee will be on hand to fuel the stoke and CBMBA will have their usual raffle Saturday night complete with “mad prizes.” Speaking of the night, the camping scene will be off the hook as CBMBA has the entire Cement Creek campground reserved for volunteer camping both Friday and Saturday night making for sweet creekside accommodations.
Trail workdays and overnighters of the past have attracted close to 100 volunteers and CBMBA is asking for the same numbers to get phase one finished next weekend. Work starts both Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.
“If we get between 70 and 100 volunteers out there, we’ll be able to finish this first phase,” says Ochs. “We encourage families, individuals, everyone to come out. Show up both days, any day, any time and check in with CBMBA operations manager Kevin Krill at the campground. Sign a waiver, grab a tool, grab two tools and head on up.”
CBMBA does ask that if you are planning on joining in the “barn raising,” please email email@example.com so they can get a headcount for both food and camping.
Ultimately, this new section of trail is the start of something even bigger and will open up nearly four miles of new trail when all is said and done over the next two years.
“It’s the start of the middle Cement Creek trail that will eventually connect the Upper Cement Creek trail to the Lower Cement Creek trail,” says Ochs. “This is phase one. Ultimately, it will go another 2.7 miles and include making the Fenceline trail a legitimate trail on public lands and will be the huge emphasis for all of our work next year.”