Volunteer group looks to build trails from Independence Pass to Parachute | PostIndependent.com

Volunteer group looks to build trails from Independence Pass to Parachute

Throughout Garfield County, towns continue to prioritize building new trails in and out of their communities, but for Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers it is a regional effort.

For its final public project of 2017, the organization will be heading to the Rifle rest area to continue work on the Colorado River Trail that it began last year. The Rifle project will be RFOV's 10th public project of 2017. After 595 volunteers logged more than 3,569 hours on public projects so far in 2017, RFOV will look to keep it going in 2018.

"It was a banner year for public projects," said RFOV executive director David Hamilton. "Over 60 locals and over 100 people came out for the Hanging Lake (trail restoration) project. It was one of our better years in terms of public projects."

While RFOV includes training programs and youth initiatives that contributed to nearly 10,000 total volunteer hours in 2017, it is the public projects that continue to make a direct impact on each Garfield County community, as well as throughout Pitkin County.

Though most of the public projects this year were upvalley in Aspen and Carbondale, with only two projects west of Glenwood Springs, Hamilton hopes to continue to build the western Garfield County volunteer base.

"We want to get more of a presence in Rifle," he explained. "We typically do around 10 to 12 public projects a year and try to draw from up and down the region with a pretty diverse group of volunteers."

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RFOV's mission is to promote stewardship of public lands through trail and restoration projects as it prioritizes better and safer access of trails throughout the region.

One of the group's biggest projects this year was helping to build 2.9 miles of the Prince Creek Trail outside Carbondale.

"We had a great turnout, and the community really came out to help," Hamilton explained. "We didn't know whether or not we would get it done this year."

It took 147 volunteers 650 hours to finish the 2.9 mile stretch that is "moments away," from being open to the public.

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