Telluride Mountain Club 2022 Recap Report
2022 was another successful year for the Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC). Our Board of Directors, staff, donors/members, and volunteers were successful at continuing our mission and helping make Telluride a great place to recreate outdoors.
We are pleased to share our 2022 accomplishments below. The simple list is followed by more in-depth information. We would like to extend a massive thank you to the Telluride community and everyone who donated this year. We couldn’t do the things we do without your support! See you on the trails in 2023!
Trail Planning & Execution
- Trail clearing, construction, and finish work on the new Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail, a new two-mile trail segment connecting Mill Creek Road with Deep/Eider/Mill Creek Trails
- Removal of over 80 downed trees on various regional trails
- Improved 20 miles of trail across 10 different trails
- New trail scouting and alignment identification for future trail opportunities to aid in improved trail connectivity and variety of trail experiences in the Telluride region (scouted 40 miles of trail)
- Reconstruction of the switchback on the Remine Creek Trail
- Trail work on the Bridal Veil Trail
- Drainage work on Magic Meadows Trail
- Trail maintenance fixes on Sunshine/T-35 Trail
- Working with the USFS to develop a plan for improved trail maintenance efficiency
- Discussion of and scouting for future trail upgrades for T-35/Sunshine Trail and a reroute for the west side of Deep Creek Trail
- Identification of future trail opportunities to aid in improved trail connectivity and variety of trail experiences in the region
- Continued discussion and plan revision with the USFS on TMtC’s proponent-driven trails proposal (to include 25 miles of proposed trails)
- Relationship development with private landowners to better understand concerns on local trails near private property
- Coordination with various entities to understand what is possible for a Telluride Perimeter trail
- Collaboration with San Miguel County and the USFS on new trail scouting for a potential Flume trail connecting Sunshine/T-35 to the Galloping Goose
- Three public trail workdays
- Meeting with the BLM to understand their trail development process and plans near the Telluride region
- Communication with concerned homeowners in various subdivisions in the region regarding existing trails or new trail proposals
- Ongoing use of trail counters on regional trails to better understand use and trends
- Final project completion of the Bridal Veil and Jud Wiebe bridges
Education, Awareness & Stewardship
- Social media ads targeted at people visiting the Telluride region promoting trail etiquette, personal responsibility, and stewardship
- Continuation of promotion of trail etiquette messaging and visual assets for community use
- Completion of our Telluride Regional Trails Survey, results can be found here: org/telluride-regional-trails-survey-2/
- Co-sponsoring the Tourism Board’s trail map to be translated into Spanish and distributed throughout the community
- Trail updates, closure info, alerts, and news on telluridemountainclub.org, Facebook and Instagram
- Conversations with Telluride Ski & Golf about the importance of a cross country pass for the bike park (before this pass was released to the public)
- The establishment of our first Trails Director position, stemming from a successful trail maintenance and planning position in 2021
Establishment of a free outdoor gear drive for those not able to afford outdoor gear and those underserved in our community
Telluride Via Ferrata
- Coordinated Via Ferrata upkeep needs with Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund (VFSF) partners and volunteers
- Organized volunteer efforts to inspect and update the route
- Coordination with the USFS on initial public outreach and scoping meetings related to NEPA
- Continued stewardship to keep the Via Ferrata route free and open to the public
Regional Climbing Routes
- Coordinated hardware upgrades and replacements on local climbing routes
Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund
- Hosted four free local avalanche education and awareness events
- $2,585 in scholarship assistance awarded to nine individuals for backcountry education
- Backcountry safety messaging, ethics, and signage throughout the region
- New beacon checkers operational at backcountry access points on Telluride Ski Resort in partnership with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
- Execution of the second annual Skidola in partnership with the Telluride Foundation
- Coordination with the USFS and Friends of the CAIC on backcountry signage for the region
- Ongoing support of the Telluride Backcountry Radio program
REGIONAL TRAILS PLANNING & EXECUTION
TMtC has successfully completed the new Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail, a two mile segment connecting the first switchback on Mill Creek Road / Eider Creek trailhead with the intersection of Deep Creek Trail and Waterline / Mill Creek Trail. Trail construction took three months and included tree and brush clearing, tread work, and hand finishing. The trail proposal, planning, project coordination, construction, and funding were all the responsibility of TMtC, construction alone cost over $90,000. The trail has already become a regional favorite with sweeping views of the Telluride valley.
TMtC’s Trail Director spent countless hours this summer scouting for new and updated trail alignments for our proponent-driven trail proposal. TMtC initially submitted this proposal in the late fall of 2021 and has been involved in numerous pre-scoping meetings to understand initial concerns with the proposed alignments. Subsequently, TMtC did due diligence with the USFS to create a list of trails that are viable on USFS land and then implemented ground truthing on these alignments. Included alignments improve connectivity and address variety of trail experiences within Telluride’s trail system. 40 miles of trail were scouted, and 25 miles of trail will be included in the updated proponent-driven trail proposal being resubmitted this fall.
TMtC is working closely with San Miguel County, Idarado Mining Company, the Town of Telluride, and the USFS on a Perimeter Trail alignment that would connect Telluride Town Park with Bridal Veil Trail. San Miguel County has surveyed the alignment and discussions are happening around the feasibility of the trail, the different approval processes, and how to fund the proposed trail. This exciting connector trail was identified as a priority among community members in our last trail survey.
Dedicated funding in TMtC’s budget for regional trail maintenance has allowed us to focus on this growing need in our community. This spring was incredibly windy and much of April, May, and early June were spent clearing trails of downed trees. This quick-fix maintenance effort continued throughout the summer as TMtC received reports of trees across trails and washouts. TMtC trail staff and volunteers removed over 80 downed trees off trails in 2022.
Continuing with trail maintenance efforts, TMtC improved 20 miles of regional trails. Specific trails that received maintenance or upgrade efforts include Magic Meadows, Eider, Deep Creek, Jud Wiebe, Bridal Veil Trail, Sunshine/T-35, Galloping Goose, Remine Creek, and Mill Creek Trails.
TMtC collaborated with San Miguel County on a reconstruction of the lower switchback on the Remine Creek Trail to improve user experience and environmental sustainability. TMtC collaborated with RESET and San Miguel County on a trail workday on Bridal Veil Trail to clear the corridor and address drainage issues. TMtC also hosted two trail workdays on the new Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail during construction and one trail workday on Sunshine/T-35. Our team also did specific drainage work on the Magic Meadows Trail.
TMtC is collaborating with the USFS on a program that will help improve trail maintenance efficiency for the region. It is currently difficult to find out about trail maintenance needs and downed trees. Learn more about our current trail maintenance program here.
While evaluating the current system, TMtC’s Trail Director scouted a reroute alignment for the west side of Deep Creek Trail to help elevate the user experience and fix sustainability and drainage issues. This reroute project is slated for 2023, pending USFS approvals. TMtC also scouted maintenance needs on the Sunshine/T-35 Trail. With proper funding, TMtC hopes to increase the user experience on this popular regional trail in 2023 as well.
TMtC continues with efforts to build relationships with private landowners to better understand concerns and opportunities with local trails near/on private property. This summer, TMtC met with the USFS and private landowners in the Gray Head subdivision at the request of the USFS to help conversations surrounding the possibility of making Hawn Mountain Trail a legal, public trail. Majority of this trail was built on USFS land in a rogue manner without proper approvals. The USFS is running into issues with the segments that cross private property. While conversations are ongoing, private landowners are leaning towards decommissioning the trail and not allowing public access on the private parcels.
TMtC met with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regional office to understand their trail development process and plans in the Telluride region. While nothing is being planned, TMtC is interested in exploring the feasibility of BLM land near Placerville for future projects to compliment the work on USFS land near Telluride.
TMtC continues to use trail counters on popular trails in the region to understand use and trends for outdoor recreation in the Telluride region.
Our team continues to stay active in discussions about trails in varying capacities. This spring, we met with Telluride Ski & Golf to explain the importance of a cross country pass and communicate the history of trail development in the ski area permit zone. TMtC was brought into a conversation about the future of the Jurassic Trail with the new affordable housing development in the Meadows of Mountain Village. TMtC and the USFS met with Hidden and Trout Lake homeowners to understand their position on creating a legal trail on USFS land in the geographic area near these communities. Representatives from both homeowner associations were unsupportive of the concept and the trail proposal was dropped.
TMtC officially finished both the Jud Wiebe bridge replacement project as well as the new Bridal Veil bridge.
EDUCATION, AWARENESS & STEWARDSHIP
TMtC makes ongoing efforts to educate trail users on the importance of trail etiquette, personal responsibility in the outdoors, and stewardship of the places we love. This year we implemented social media ads targeting people on vacation in Telluride with outdoor responsibility content. These ads reached 33,960 people from June 1st to October 3rd, 2022.
TMtC initiated a new trail survey that was open from November 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022, which garnered over 769 responses. The priority of the survey was to check back in with the Telluride community to seek the public’s vision for future trails in the Telluride region. People identified that the current trail system could use some improved connectivity, maintenance, and new trails. An overwhelming 78% plus of respondents think that the current system should be thoughtfully expanded to accommodate increased future use and demand. Those in support of new trails are mostly interested in user-specific trails, followed by multi-use trails, and stacked trail systems. People are seeking a diverse level of challenge, everything from easy to expert trails. The results suggest that our trail system could use more of every challenge. Majority of people get trails information via word of mouth or via an app/website.
TMtC and Sheep Mountain Alliance cosponsored the Telluride Tourism Board’s efforts to translate the new Telluride regional trail map to be translated into Spanish and distributed throughout the community.
In the spring of 2022, TMtC established an outdoor gear drive to provide recreation-related gear to the community free of charge. The intent was to provide better access to recreation for those in our community that are underserved, cannot afford gear, or don’t have the means to be able to access equipment. We collected gear at the community recycling event and distributed it in early June at the Community Fiesta in town park. The event was free and open to anyone. Over 150 people took advantage of the free gear, equipment, backpacks, clothing, and more. The event was an overwhelming success, and we look forward to continuing it in 2023.
TELLURIDE VIA FERRATA
TMtC worked closely with our Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund Partners – Mountain Trip, San Juan Outdoor Adventure, San Juan Mountain Guides, Telluride Mountain Guides and Peak Mountain Guides – to keep the route maintained throughout the season. Partner guide services volunteered by way of trail maintenance efforts, hardware assessments, and route inspections. TMtC can’t thank these guide services and individuals enough for helping to keep the route in good order throughout the season.
Telluride’s via ferrata is currently undergoing a NEPA analysis by the USFS. The effort is to lead to an adoption of the route into their trail system. TMtC helped coordinate and host a public zoom meeting in the spring to keep the community informed of the process and future intentions. The route has a ton of supporters that were encouraging next steps forecasted by the USFS.
TMtC works with local guide companies and a selected group of experienced volunteer climbers to replace hardware on local climbing routes each summer. These efforts help create safer climbing experiences in our region.
PETER INGLIS AVALANCHE EDUCATION FUND / BACKCOUNTRY RECAP
TMtC is the fiscal agent and umbrella organization to the Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund (PI Avy Fund). The PI Avy Fund’s mission is to create opportunities for avalanche education and backcountry user awareness in the San Juan Mountains. This past season, Chris Dickson was hired to be the new Director of the PI Fund and focus efforts on sustainably growing programming.
During the 2021/2022 season, the PI Avy Fund hosted four free Telluride Backcountry Chats aimed to help spread backcountry awareness throughout our region. These chats were hosted by Wilkinson Public Library and were attended by an average of 45 people each.
Each year, the PI Avy Fund awards scholarships for backcountry education in the San Juan Mountains. This year, the fund received 15 applications for scholarships and funded $2,585 to nine individuals to help offset the cost of avalanche education courses (ranging from $125 to $630).
The PI Avy Fund worked with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear to fund beacon checkers and signage for the various backcountry access gates on Telluride Ski Resort. Additionally, a partnership with the Silverton Avalanche School and Friends of the San Juans (along with the Telluride Tourism Board and Osprey Packs locally) provoked cohesive beacon checkers across the San Juan Mountains at frequented access points. Telluride’s will be located at the top of Lizard Head Pass.
The PI Avy Fund and TMtC continue to work together to provide backcountry awareness, education, and etiquette signage for the Telluride region. Coordination with the USFS and Friends of the CAIC allows for recognizable trailhead signage throughout San Miguel County.
The PI Avy Fund partnered with the Telluride Foundation for the second annual Skidola. Over 50 participants raced from the base to the top of the gondola. The PI Avy Fund partners with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear to provide rentable backcountry radios for free to the community.
TMtC wouldn’t be where it is today without the help and support of its partners, grantors, and private/individual donors. Our Board and Staff would like to extend a huge thank you to all partners, sponsors, donors, members, volunteers, and grantors for your incredible support in 2022! We would not have been able to achieve any of our accomplishments without you.
If you have questions about the projects and programming accomplished this past year, please email email@example.com. You can become a member/supporter of the club and our projects/initiatives here.
We hope you will consider joining us in 2023!
Josh Borof – President
Nate Smith – Vice President
Tor Anderson – Board Member
Todd Rutledge – Board Member
Kevin Cooney – Board Member
Ximena Carolina Rebolledo Leon – Board Member
Heidi Lauterbach – Director
Jordan Carr – Trails Director