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Volunteers needed to repair mountains

Brief by Central Staff

Outdoor recreation – July 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.” That’s good advice for back-country travel, but if too many people leave footprints, the landscape still suffers.

That’s the situation on many of Colorado’s 54 14,000-foot peaks, where footprints evolve into trails that damage tundra and disturb wildlife.

With some work, much of this damage and disturbance can be repaired or prevented, and that’s where the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative comes into play.

CFI is a non-profit organization based in Golden, and it works with the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies to repair damage and create “sustainable trails” — ones that can handle the foot traffic while minimizing adverse effects in the future.

Every summer, CFI has several 14er projects, and as you might have guessed, volunteers are welcome to move rocks, fill in eroded areas, and the like.

The main thing to consider before volunteering, according to Bruce Morrow, CFI’s education and outreach manager, “is that this is heavy physical work at high altitudes. Often there’s a mile or two of uphill hiking to get to the work site. Volunteers must be in the physical condition to do that.”

Typically, volunteer work is scheduled for a weekend, although there are some 5-day sessions. Volunteers provide their own personal gear, while CFI provides the tools and maintains the base camp.

Area projects for this summer include:

14,067-foot Missouri Mountain in Chaffee County — trail construction, rock work, and restoring and revegetating trampled and eroded areas. Weekends of June 29, July 6, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 17, and Aug. 31. Five-day session July 18-22.

14,003-foot Huron Peak in Chaffee County — restore an eroded “social trail” area that was closed earlier, finish a section of rock work through an alpine wetland. Weekend of June 22.

14,294-foot Crestone Peak and 14,197-foot Crestone Needle — shaping a route through the talus and boulder fields from South Colony Lake to Eye of the Needle Pass. Weekends of Aug. 17 and Sept. 14, five-day session Aug. 30-Sept. 3.

If you’re interested in volunteering, call Morrow at 303-278-7525 extension 115, or download an application from the CFI website at

And if you’re interested in writing about your volunteer encounter with a weekend of heavy work above timberline, give us a call. It sounds like a good topic for us — just as long as someone else does the personal research.