It was mid-January and Crested Butte was in the midst of a dry spell. Snow had not fallen for at least a couple of weeks and although snow was bountiful, the quality of it was lacking. But, the skis were blue, the morning was crisp, and the snow sparkled invitingly. So, I headed out to Gothic Road to enjoy cross-country skiing with my family who was visiting from Ohio. We found the trail to be in very poor shape, with deep grooves from cross-country ski travel, crossed over by footprints from walkers, another track crossing over both of those from fat-bikers. This multi-use trail was beat up. And I wondered, why don’t we see grooming here? It would create a better user experience for everyone! Improvement of user experience in heavily traveled shared use areas such as the Gothic corridor is one of the main reasons why we support the recent winter grooming proposal of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA). The proposal is aimed toward increasing trail access for fat bikers, but much of the proposal can improve experiences for all winter user groups.
The crisp morning held the odor of fall and a stiff wind funneled through the valley. But, the day was sunny and the skies were blue. About 80 people circled about outside the Crested Butte Visitors Center, mingling with smiles, ready for their volunteer day to get started. The Slate River Cleanup day was largely organized by HICCA but was supported by a couple dozen organizations throughout the valley, including Share the Slate. Volunteers were split up into about 12 different groups, each with its own crew leader, and each group tackled a different part of the Slate River valley. Each group was to work for about four hours cleaning up trash and removing excessive fire rings in their assigned area. Our group was small and consisted of just four of us, all from Share the Slate – Brittany Konsella, Frank Konsella, Adam Kagy, and Kristi Kagy. We were assigned the Paradise Divide area of the Slate River drainage. After a hard day of work, we all reconvened at the Musicians Camp which is a mile or so up the valley from the Oh-Be-Joyful turnoff. We were rewarded with BBQ goodies, beer, and a raffle. All in all, the Slate
Come and join the first-ever Joint Cleanup of the Slate River Valley! On Sunday, October 16, 2016, Share the Slate will combine efforts with twenty area nonprofits and agencies in the first-ever Joint Cleanup of the Slate River Valley. The Slate has been impacted by dispersed camping and other uses, and on this day we will band together to do our part to help the valley recover from a summer of heavy enjoyment. We’ll be collecting trash and removing extraneous fire rings, helping restore the area to a healthier state. With enough favorable factors, we could even expand to another valley.
At our meeting a little over a week ago, we unveiled our Mapping Project! We are trying our best to gather data about users who venture into our winter trailheads and backcountry terrain, primarily on National Forest lands. We want to know who is using our winter trails, for what purpose, and how often. We intend to use this data to help make educated and informed decisions about winter travel management, especially when the Forest Service decides the winter travel management plan needs to be reviewed.
It’s been nearly a week since the first public meeting for Share the Slate. We thank all those who were able to attend! If you were not able to attend, we have the two PowerPoint presentations that we presented under the Resources page on our site. We first introduced ourselves, explained our mission, and what we believe. Then, we explained why we formed, to counter the movements made by the Nordic Center and Silent Tracks, and our goals to try to promote multi-use trails. After, we explained the current winter travel management plan for our area, the Gang of Nine Decision. This was followed by an explanation of how you can help Share the Slate. Last, we went over our new data collection mapping program. Which brings us now to the point…. Have YOU taken action? To take action, we ask that you do some or all of these four things: 1) Sign up for our email updates 2) Donate 3) Write a letter to the town council 4) Sign our Petition During our meeting, we also explained that we would like people to submit their user data on our map. This is our attempt to gain knowledge for who
Sharing is caring. That’s what Share the Slate is all about. We’re about fostering a community that thrives on multi-use winter trails and celebrates the diversity of our users. We believe that through education and awareness, various user groups can continue to coexist happily on our winter trails. But, forces are at work against this. Groups like Silent Tracks and the Crested Butte Nordic Center seek further segregation of our trailhead use – or worse, to shut it down to specific user groups. While Share the Slate provides a strong voice against these groups, the voices are louder with volume. We need YOU and we need your support. Here are 4 actions you can take to support Share the Slate: 1) Stay informed – Sign up for our email updates. We’ll keep you educated about policies, notify you of upcoming meetings, and send out action alerts. 2) Donate – We need funding for start-up costs and to help us file for non-profit status and we need these immediately. Later, we’ll need funds to help us accomplish some of our goals, like better signage at trailheads. Please donate today! 3) Write a letter to the Crested Butte Town Council and Mayor
On Tuesday January 19th, the Crested Butte Town Council had a meeting about winter trailheads. At that meeting, many groups presented regarding winter travel. Of most importance to us, Silent Tracks made a presentation to the Town Council. They introduced who they were and specifically asked the council to write a letter to the National Forest asking them to speed up the re-evaluation of the existing winter travel management plan. Public comment was at first not allowed. But, due to the number of people present at the meeting and after a few remarks by Crested Butte local Mike Arbany, Mayor Glen Michel granted public comments, provided they were directed to the actual town council. A summary of the comments that ensued and the overall discussions are recapped in the Crested Butte News and the Gunnison Country Times. We at Share the Slate believe that the time has not yet come to discuss the winter travel management plan and that the current plan is working. We believe that any conflicts that supposedly exist can be resolved through education and awareness. We made these points clear during the town council meeting and these sentiments were echoed by much of the public. After