Some things that struck me from the past year.
Eldorado Trundling Committee
The summer saw four days of trundling, and there was a bonus fifth winter day.
At this point, the process goes:
- Suggestions are collected from local guiding services and community groups like ACE and BCC. Emphasis is given to popular, moderate climbs.
- I have an excuse to go for a hike and decide what trails to close, what equipment to use, et cetera.
- Volunteers are recruited.
On the day of:
- Trails are closed.
- An AMGA certified guide is available as a “safety officer” on the wall.
- Rocks are trundled, or in some cases lowered.
Correlation isn’t causation – but 2012 saw no reported accidents due to rockfall in Eldorado Canyon State Park.
- We’ve got the Griphoist, and I’m more comfortable bolting. There are some new options for safely removing dangerous blocks.
- Community is being built. We should have more ways to collect data, more volunteers, more skill available.
- I’d like this to become a standalone process. Right now it relies heavily on one person – the climbing community should become empowered to run trundles with assistance from the park.
- Perhaps RMRG could get involved. Hmmmm.
Picnic Area/Rincon Mitigation
2012 saw some scary fire conditions. As a guy who plows snow, looks at South Boulder Creek every day, and likes to play forester, I was in a panic by April. Fortunately, I can at least put that nervous energy into fuels mitigation.
The first order of business: Limbing everything in the picnic areas. The rule of thumb is that if you can get it with a pole saw and it’s near a picnic pad, it comes down. We’re lucky – for the most part, our picnic areas are enclosed by roads. I have no desire to find out if those constitute decent fire breaks.
At the same time, we’re also strategically not replacing grills. Particularly, in the areas that are adjacent to stands of timber.
The area north of the Rincon parking lot saw pretty heavy mitigation work. There are a few special things we have to do:
- There is no way that a slash pile could/should be burned in this canyon. Everything has to be hauled out and chipped.
- We can’t leave a slash pile unattended. It’s just a sad reality that our visitors try to make bonfires.
This is pretty typical of an unmitigated hillside:
This is what a hillside looks like after a little lovin’:
About 100′ up from the picnic area at Rincon, I cut in a “road”. It’s a continuous lane with mostly mineral soil and rock that separates the hillside from the picnic area:
The idea is that if fire gets out from the picnic area, it will have a hard time moving up into the crowns of the trees. If it starts going uphill, it will have a much harder time jumping.
- This year I’d like to finish cutting in the road at the Rincon area. Really just one or two more trees.
- I’d like to start working in the South Picnic area. There’s another good opportunity for a containment line.
I’ve used up my 2012 syllabic allocation for trail writing. Suffice it to say, I lucked out and got some great volunteers and did a lot of good projects. From corridor clearing, to replacing treads, to building big-old stone steps, it was a banner year.
This year should see
- Training with the Access Fund Conservation Team
- The inaugural run of the BCC Front Range Trail Crew
- Continued work on the West Ridge
- Maybe I’ll put on my big-boy pants and write a grant application. Funny thing: I’m confident around a chainsaw, big rocks, heavy equipment. Grant writing scares me. Eeek.
I just keep plugging away. The park’s inventory of saws, pruners, weed whips and such keeps improving, and I keep getting more comfy servicing it. I’m hoping for a cold, snowy February and March with some garage time. I’ve finally wrassled down the ideas of crankcase pressure testing, carb and gas tank pressure testing.
I’d like to dive in to hydraulic systems a bit. We’ve got a splitter that I keep talking about fixing.
I’ve been very pleasantly surprised about how well this project has gone. At the beginning of the year, people were mostly just stocking up on bags. After the initial rush, there have been more and more used bags in the trash cans. Which means less human waste cliffside. And there’s a volunteer that re-stocks the bags every other week. Very sustainable, beneficial program.