CBMBA kicks off summer with annual meeting and a new trail

“It’s a game-changer”

By Than Acuff 

After five years of planning and the associated process with getting input, comments and concerns from the public, the Forest Service approved the North Valley Trails Project (NVTP) and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) kicks off its effort on the NVTP on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 1, by building the Upper Upper Loop extension, aka Pointed Laccolith Trail. 

CBMBA’s trail crew, the Crested Butte Conservation Corps (CBCC), has been out the past two weeks already with their usual slate of preseason efforts.

“They’ve been working on the stuff closest to town, chasing the receding snow,” says CBMBA director Dave Ochs. “It’s all about getting water off the trail.”

CBMBA “officially” opens the season with its annual Kick Off Party and Member Meeting on Friday, May 31 at the Depot from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Food will be provided by Mikey’s Pizza and beer from Zuni Street Brewing. There’s much to discuss at the gathering with more information regarding the NVTP, a new outreach element of the CBCC and all things bikes and trails.

“Everybody and anybody are welcome,” says Ochs. “If you have any comments, it’s the best time to do it and learn about the NVTP.”

Saturday is go time and CBMBA is calling on all trail users, friends and families to glove up and show up at the Brush Creek Trailhead at 10 a.m. for their trail workday sponsored by the Wildflower Festival. The plan is to build a new trail from the south end of Upper Upper Loop, where it comes down to Brush Creek Road, to the Brush Creek trailhead. It’s a .7 mile long stretch across the hillside that parallels Brush Creek Road and is the first project of the NVTP and part of CBMBA’s continuing effort to get riders and hikers off roads.

“It’s a game-changer,” says Ochs. “Hopefully people will then come home via the Upper Upper.”

In addition, the trail will bump up around two sensitive Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) research areas, yet still maintain a nice grade between the trailhead and the existing Upper Upper Loop trail.

While the Upper Upper Loop has its challenges in either direction, the trail workday will also include some work on the existing trail through a contract with the National Forest Foundation and Great American Outdoors Act.

“It will be a super sweet flowy trail to the trailhead,” says Ochs. “It will be a whole new experience on the Upper Upper taking out the unsustainable sections that are tough on hikers and bikers.”

In addition, the Forest Service will be hard at work this summer on their portion of the NVTP expanding and improving the Brush Creek trailhead and Tent City farther out Brush Creek.

But it won’t happen without the annual throngs of volunteers that show up each and every summer. Ochs believes that if they get anywhere between 90 and 130 volunteers out on Saturday, they can get the job done.

“We can get it pretty well built in a day,” says Ochs. “We have a ton of rock work to do in some sections and we’ll be doing some human backhoeing.”

Volunteers are asked to show up at the Brush Creek Trailhead by 10 a.m., please carpool and work until 3 p.m. And, as always, volunteers will then be treated to a BBQ with food provided by Clark’s Market and beer provided by Ska Brewing starting at 3 p.m. complete with a raffle.

“We got crazy prizes,” says Ochs.

CBMBA and the CBCC will continue all summer with their efforts including six Wednesday Workdays as well as the big annual overnighter August 17-18 where they plan to extend the singletrack at the end of the Teocalli trail and maybe, just maybe, more reggae.

“I’m still working on a reggae band,” says Ochs.

For all information about the kickoff party, trail workday and all things NVTP go to cbmba.org and then put hoe and rake to dirt on Saturday, June 1.

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