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.