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Building an Off Road Trail in Colorado

Posted in Features on January 1, 2007 Comment (0)
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Building an Off Road Trail in Colorado
Old-fashioned human power was the mainstay of moving many of the boulders. One would think that big boulders would easily roll down the steep slope, but club members Kim Bodemann, Arlene Losee, Stefane Penley, and Becca Eller had to wrangle the rocks by hand and foot on many slopes. Old-fashioned human power was the mainstay of moving many of the boulders. One would think that big boulders would easily roll down the steep slope, but club members Kim Bodemann, Arlene Losee, Stefane Penley, and Becca Eller had to wrangle the rocks by hand and foot on many slopes.

Most wheelers and clubs complain about losing trails, but then fail to do anything about it. It's a sad fact, but many trails on public lands are lost every day, and creating a new trail is nearly out of the question. Except In Colorado, that is. The Mountain Metal Mashers club in Kremmling, Colorado, has been wheeling for years in the mountains, but new regulations and mandates from the Bureau of Land Management put many trails at risk. About six years ago, the club started to be proactive, and even got grants from the Colorado State Parks to develop the area for wheeling, and take care of certain areas such as an adopt-a-trail program does. They centered their efforts on a fairly easy existing trail that crawled around Wolford Mountain, and wanted to make it a hard-core rock trail.

But of course, just building a new trail on BLM land isn't the easiest thing to get approved, and hard work and careful planning for the last 5 years finally brought the program to fruition. Fortunately for us at 4-Wheel & Off-Road, we were given the chance to help this project go forward by covering and sponsoring the construction of the trail with the help of 4Wheel Drive hardware (800.865.0961, www.4wd.com) to help pay for some of the hard costs of trail construction. In addition, many local businesses helped, as did county and state agencies. The Kremmling Field Office of the BLM worked for years to develop the Wolford Mountain Travel Management plan, and some 76 pages of research later John Ruhs, head of the Kremmling office, and Stacey Antilla decided that a hard-core trail could be built and maintained without harming the environment. In fact, with the Mountain Metal Mashers taking care of the trail, the local dumping and vandalism should decrease and the trail can become a shining example of true cooperation.

Skid-steers worked like an assembly line to shuttle boulders. The distance from the main dump pile of boulders to each of the obstacles was less than a mile, but the road had to be clear for the skid-steers to shuttle back and forth. Once a section was completed, the shuttles moved farther back and piled boulders for the next obstacle. Skid-steers worked like an assembly line to shuttle boulders. The distance from the main dump pile of boulders to each of the obstacles was less than a mile, but the road had to be clear for the skid-steers to shuttle back and forth. Once a section was completed, the shuttles moved farther back and piled boulders for the next obstacle.

Over the years many organizations and businesses helped push the project along. Three years ago Granby Landfill donated rock for the project, and Scotty's Hauling hauled the massive boulders to a staging area. Also, the Grand County Commissioners donated more rock, as did the Grand County Road and Bridge Department. This time Badlands Trucking hauled the rock, and Wagner Rents donated 50 percent of the equipment cost of Cats, dozers, backhoes, and skid-steers to move rock and build trails. But in the end, it was the dedication and perseverance of the members of the Mountain Metal Mashers that made this trail a reality.

The Sidewinder Trail is now a truly difficult technical challenge, and we were there for the first wheeling of the new trail. We can show you some of the efforts put forth here, but you really have to wheel the trail to see what these guys and gals have done for their local area.

By volunteering their time, energy, money, and guts to make a killer trail, they have showed us and the four-wheeling community what it takes to succeed in regaining ground, and working with the BLM and other agencies for the good of all. Take a trip next summer and run the Sidewinder Trail. You won't be disappointed, and maybe you can gain insight on how to keep this process going in your own neck of the woods. For more information contact the Mountain Metal Mashers at mmmkremco@yahoo.com, and the BLM at 970.724.3000 or kfo_webmail@blm.gov.

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