Community Trail Blazing
Spring in the Gunnison Valley blossoms into a stunning bouquet of events, from the flowering of dormant plants to the stirrings of hungry critters to the melting-out of our trails. The enticing pull of the natural world unites us as a community and draws many of us to the trails. “Our local trails are important to my health and well-being,” explains Crested Butte resident Sue Navy. “Being able to walk or ride just a few minutes from town and find natural open space, for hiking and sometimes socializing, motivates me on days when I don’t have any more substantial adventures planned,” she adds.
Be it an early morning stroll with coffee and the dog or a marathon weekend ride that ends with friends and cold beverages at the trailhead, our trails offer an abundance of benefits. For Gunnison resident, Stephanie Maltarich, trails provide a welcomed get-away. “I love that they can take you far away up and over passes where you feel like you just might be the only person in the world,” describes Maltarich. Met Rec recognizes the valley’s shared appreciation for trails, which is why we work to thoughtfully support their stewardship.
In recent years, Met Rec has supported trail maintenance by contributing to the Gunnison Stewardship Fund, which was developed by the County’s Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee in partnership with the National Forest Foundation. The fund’s vision is to finance stewardship projects that support our economy by engaging people and leveraging resources to proactively protect our community values. Local, regional and national businesses, local governments and other entities contribute to the fund. In return, the National Forest Foundation matches some of the contributions with additional dollars.
Met Rec’s contributions to the Gunnison Stewardship Fund leverage these funds and provide the critical support our local trail organizations need. Together, Gunnison Trails and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) cleared over 200 downed trees from trails and roads in 2021. They also improved some of our most popular trails, including Gunnison’s Mill Creek zone and Crested Butte’s 401, by constructing drainages and replacing old bridges. This is only a snapshot of the great trail work completed last summer. This year, the Gunnison Stewardship Fund awarded $100,000 to local trail organizations.
Their work provides vital maintenance that gives our community the trail experiences we crave and keeps us trekking. We at Met Rec are proud to be part of the journey.