TMtC Recap Report: 2020
2020 was a unique year for outdoor recreation in Telluride. Even among a worldwide pandemic, our Board of Directors, staff, membership and volunteers were successful at efforts involving trail planning and construction, trail maintenance, education initiatives, hardware upgrades at climbing routes and via ferrata stewardship.
It is now evident that the pandemic influenced participation in outdoor activities due to their socially distant nature. No one could have predicted the overwhelming and significant uptick in visitation to our mountain community and outdoor recreation resources. Below, please find our 2020 accomplishments and accompanying overview. Thank you to the Telluride community for allowing TMtC to further our mission and help make Telluride a great place to recreate outdoors.
- Collaboration on opening Telluride’s newest trail, Bridal Veil Trail
- Installation and data collection of trail counters on the Bridal Veil trail, Jud Wiebe trail and Via Ferrata
- Public trail maintenance day on the Jud Wiebe trail
- Community trail cleanup events and efforts
- USFS NEPA public scoping period for TMtC’s proposed Eider to Mill Creek Connector and Mill Creek Bypass trails
- Request for Proposal (RFP) and initial project overview of the Jud Wiebe bridge replacement
- New Opt in for Trails partnerships
- Initiated trail etiquette and stewardship education efforts as a result of increased regional outdoor recreation
- Instituted multiple public service announcements on responsible outdoor recreation and trail updates
- New trail signage for education and etiquette purposes
Telluride Via Ferrata
- Coordinated Via Ferrata workdays with Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund partners
- Announcements to public on Via Ferrata route access due to rockfall
- 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
- Operation of the Adult Indoor Climbing program through mid-March 2020
- Provided Ophir Wall climbing access updates and information
Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund
- Hosted free local avalanche education and awareness events
- Co-hosted the first annual winter Skidola
- $3,000 in scholarship assistance awarded to community for backcountry education
- Backcountry safety messaging, ethics and signage throughout the region
- Coordination with Silverton Avalanche School and Friends of the San Juans on noblackoutdays.com, a backcountry awareness initiative
- Coordination with the USFS and Friends of the CAIC on new backcountry signage for the region
Read below for our full 2020 recap report.
REGIONAL TRAILS RECAP
Telluride’s newest trail addition, Bridal Veil Trail, was completed and opened in the spring of 2020. This trail was a goal of the Board of Directors for over 25 years. Coordination and work by TMtC, Idarado Mining Company, San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride made this trail a reality. A huge thank you to Idarado, San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride! Bridge construction and installation is the next step of this project and is slated for the spring of 2021.
To help track the increased trail use throughout the region, TMtC purchased three trail counters and placed them on the Bridal Veil Trail, Jud Wiebe trail and Telluride’s Via Ferrata. The resulting numbers support that outdoor recreation in Telluride is at a critical tipping point. Our community needs to prioritize strategic land management, education and messaging throughout the region moving forward.
The counters work by registering a “hit” each time they’re crossed. An out-and-back trail user will register two hits. The data collected from the trail counters from July 3rd through November 3rd, 2020, was alarmingly high. The counter on the Jud Wiebe trail saw over 39,000 hits; the Via Ferrata recorded over 8,600; and the new Bridal Veil Trail registered a staggering 89,000 hits with a record of 1,769 in one day. The average use on this new trail was typically 500-800 people each day.
In July, TMtC hosted a public trail maintenance day on the Jud Wiebe trail with the help of the USFS. We accomplished trail bed work, rock removal and leveling on the east side switchbacks. The work from our 12 volunteers greatly improved this section of trail, allowing beginner and intermediate recreationalists to have a better experience.
By August, with all of the increased trail use and trail degradation apparent, TMtC partnered with the Telluride Tourism Board to host community (trail) cleanup efforts. TMtC provided trash bags, gloves and a dumpster to encourage participation.
TMtC submitted two trail proposals to the USFS in 2019, the Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail and the Mill Creek Bypass Trail. These proposals finally underwent public comment for NEPA in September of 2020 and a decision should be released this winter. If approved, TMtC plans to break ground on at least one of these new trails in the summer of 2021.
TMtC has been collaborating with the USFS to replace the Jud Wiebe bridge that was removed from the trail over Cornet Creek in 2019. A RPF was sent out to various bridge construction and engineering companies this fall. Engineering and materials are on the calendar for summer 2021.
Our Opt in for Trails campaign was established in 2019 to directly support funding for ongoing trail maintenance and new trail projects. With the help of local businesses and donors, we have been successful in raising over $19,500 since its inception. You can support Opt in for Trails at Box Canyon Bicycles, Jagged Edge Mountain Gear and other participating local businesses. Thank you to those involved so far.
With increased trail use apparent this spring, TMtC created and spread awareness of trail etiquette and stewardship in our region. Creative assets were created and shared with the region’s businesses, governmental agencies and more to promote proper trial ethics to new and current users. It is our plan to continue this effort into the winter with backcountry activities already on the rise.
In addition to our ongoing efforts to create better outdoor recreation experiences and culture in the Telluride region, TMtC created signage and public service announcements to keep the public in the know. We also continuously apply for grants to help with regional trail project funding.
TELLURIDE VIA FERRATA RECAP
This past summer, the Via Ferrata experienced two significant rockfall events. TMtC worked 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 clear the route and make it passable to the public.
In the fall of 2020, TMtC coordinated with the partners on a workday for route stewardship purposes. TMtC has worked diligently to keep the Via Ferrata free and open to the public over the years.
REGIONAL CLIMBING RECAP
This summer, TMtC worked with local guide companies and a selected group of experienced volunteer climbers to replace hardware on several local climbing routes. These efforts help create safer climbing experiences in our region. Efforts were also made to update the public on Ophir Wall climbing access issues and protecting private landowners.
Last, we had a successful Adult Indoor Climbing season, even though the program had to shut down early due to COVID-19 in mid-March.
PETER INGLIS AVALANCHE EDUCATION FUND / BACKCOUNTRY RECAP
TMtC is the fiscal agent and umbrella organization to the Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund (PI Fund) to help with local avalanche education and awareness. So far in 2020, the PI Fund has hosted five free Telluride Backcountry Chats, aimed to help spread backcountry awareness throughout our region. Additionally, in March, we partnered with the Telluride Foundation to host the first annual Skidola, an uphill race to help raise funds for the PI Funds efforts.
During the 2019-2020 winter season, the PI Fund awarded $3,000 in scholarships to 17 individuals for avalanche education courses. Scholarships were awarded for companion rescue courses, Avy 1 courses and Avy 2 courses.
Most recently, the PI Fund has coordinated with TMtC, the Silverton Avalanche School and Friends of the San Juans on a new repository for backcountry awareness resources, noblackoutdays.com. This group has also coordinated new backcountry awareness signage for the San Juans with Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Current work is being done to establish beacon checkers for popular trailheads and access gates in our community.
TMtC wouldn’t be where it is today without the help and support of its partners, grantors and individual donors. The Board and staff would like to extend a huge thank you to all partners, sponsors, donors, members, volunteers and grantors.
If you have questions about the work accomplished in 2020, please email email@example.com.
We hope you will join us in 2021!
Josh Borof – President
Nate Smith – Vice President
Brian O’Neill – Treasurer
Joanna Spindler – Secretary
Tor Anderson – Board Member
Todd Rutledge – Board Member
Kevin Cooney – Board Member
Heidi Lauterbach – Director
Ashley Smith – Programs & Development Director