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RFO Volunteers are cleaning up trails and wild places all summer

"So it's like a lot of trail work is just like making the path you're on the most accessible, the most enticing to, and then through that you achieve sustainability."

The Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers have been cleaning up trails and public lands for over two decades. On Wednesday, June 12th, the handful of volunteers met at the base of the Dock Holiday Trail to do some much needed maintenance to the historic landmark.

This small but dedicated group are the ones able to rearrange their schedules after this project was postponed due to inclement weather. Program Director Jack Douglas explains that their volunteers total in the hundreds.

"I think we have a core of probably 50 to 60 volunteers who are very, very dedicated, um, and who come to 5 plus projects a year. I think we have a larger, um, group of probably 400, 500 folks who come to at least 2 to 3 projects a year. And then I think we filter in tons of people each year. I think on average we have about 13 to 1400 volunteers each year.

RFOV started doing trail maintenance through the valley, but they've since expanded into efforts focused on sustainability and preserving Colorado's unique landscape. Longtime volunteer Helen Carlson says that some of her favorite projects in keeping public lands clean and safe for humans and wildlife alike.

"Barbed wire fence kills elk, deer, pronghorn, and then the woven wire that you often see underneath the barbed wire, it's also called sheep wire, that stops everything. Even small animals like raccoons and foxes and coyotes and fawns, they can't get through there. The moms and the babies get separated. And so, any kind of barbed wire fence removal thing, we try to do.

On the climb to the cemetery, volunteers pointed out re-vegetation areas covered in wood straw and drains on the trail that could be improved with a little digging. At the top of the hill, we split into two groups

"Using hand saws and loppers. We're going to trim back branches and limbs from larger trees, cut out smaller trees. I think on top of that, we are also going to have a group of volunteers who's going to be just doing some trail maintenance on the side."

RFOV has a busy summer ahead, including restoration at Bohr Flats, an overnight trip to Cathedral Lake and trail restoration at Geneva Lake. More information can be found at

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Lily Jones