Telluride Mountain Club 2021 Recap Report
2021 was by far Telluride Mountain Club’s (TMtC) busiest year yet. Our Board of Directors, staff, membership, and volunteers were successful at continuing our mission and helping make Telluride’s outdoors a great place to recreate.
We are pleased to share our 2021 accomplishments with more in-depth overviews included below. We can’t thank the Telluride community enough for your support this year, it was evident in a big way. We look forward to continuing our planning and projects in 2022. See you on the trails!
Trail Planning & Execution
- Completion and install of a new bridge on the Bridal Veil Trail
- Engineering, construction, and install of the replacement bridge on the Jud Wiebe Trail
- NEPA approval for the Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail
- Establishment and use of our first Trails Director position
- Removed 26 downed trees on Telluride’s trail system
- Improved 14 miles across nine different trails
- Released a public feedback survey to better understand the community’s vision for the future: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/tmtctrails
- Research and planning for a 3rd party National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis proposal
- Scouted 40 miles of potential new trail alignments for future proposals
- Coordination with regional landowners to improve trail segments
- Built a new spur to the second waterfall on the Bridal Veil Trail
- Minor maintenance and directional barriers on the Bridal Veil Trail
- Clearing of deadfall on the Local’s Loop
- Creation of our reporting trail conditions program
- Documented user trends on popular trails, initiated education, and stewardship initiatives for the region, and kept trail counters active on three popular trails
Trail Education, Awareness & Stewardship
- Hotel brochures with trail etiquette messaging for guests
- Collaboration on community-wide cleanup weekends
- Partnership on booths for the farmers markets to promote trail etiquette
- Paid digital ads targeting people visiting Telluride promoting trail etiquette and stewardship responsibilities
- Creation of trail etiquette messaging and visual assets for community use
- 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)
Telluride Via Ferrata
- Coordinated volunteer Via Ferrata workdays with Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund (VFSF) partners
- Organized volunteer missions to upgrade hardware on the route
- Announcements to public on Via Ferrata route access
- Coordination with the United States Forest Service (USFS) on initial conversations related to NEPA in 2022
- 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 free local avalanche education and awareness events
- $3,000 in scholarship assistance awarded to community for backcountry education
- Backcountry safety messaging, ethics, and signage throughout the region
- Initiated purchase of new beacon checkers for Telluride Ski Resort in partnership with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
- Coordination and partner of new beacon checkers for various trailheads across the San Juan Mountains
- 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 backcountry signage for the region
REGIONAL TRAILS PLANNING & EXECUTION
TMtC is excited to announce that the replacement bridge project on the Jud Wiebe Trail is complete. The new steel and treated timber bridge spans 44 feet across the upper Cornet Creek crossing. This project was coordinated and managed by TMtC via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Forest Service (USFS). The entire project cost was the responsibility of TMtC and took multiple years to coordinate. Funding came from private donors, the National Forest Foundation/Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, Opt in for Trails donors, and member donation support.
Working with San Miguel County and (funding from) Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), we were successful at installing and completing the new bridge at the Ingram Creek crossing on the Bridal Veil Trail. Since 2019, TMtC has contributed $54,563 to this project for engineering, matching funds, and completion work. This bridge is absolutely stunning and will open when the trail reopens to the public in the spring of 2022.
Our Eider to Mill Creek Connector Trail proposal was finally approved by the USFS this summer. We are working on signing an MOU to be able to clear and construct this trail in 2022. If timelines go according to plan, this trail will be open to the public by mid to late summer. This trail is estimated to cost TMtC $90,000. The trail will be fully funded by TMtC. Stay tuned for a fundraising campaign coming spring 2022!
In 2020, we focused some of our fundraising efforts on gathering enough funds to be able to hire a part-time trails maintenance position. We are proud to have fulfilled this goal and then some. This role transitioned into our first Trails Director position and will help with trail planning, visioning, and execution in addition to trail maintenance. Jordan Carr has taken on this role and is incredibly qualified to do so. Jordan has traveled all over the world working on trail planning and building projects. He is passionate about the creation of inclusive, accessible, and collaborative recreational trail projects in the Telluride region.
Our trail maintenance position was able to respond quickly to trail issues throughout the summer. By revising and promoting our Reporting Trail Conditions program, we were able to more efficiently solve issues. We removed 26 downed trees and improved 14 miles of trail across nine different trails. Additionally, we removed all the deadfall on a private landowner’s property to improve usability on the popular Local’s Loop.
In July, TMtC partnered with San Miguel County and the USFS to build a new spur to the middle waterfall on the Bridal Veil Trail to better manage environmental and erosion concerns. We also helped with directional barrier trail improvements along the route to help keep users on the main trail.
In keeping pace with increased demand for outdoor recreation, we are working on a list of dream trails to submit for formal public comment and required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis to the USFS. We will use a third-party contractor, SE Group, to help us complete the study. This process is likely to take 18 months and our expenses are estimated to be up to $250,000. This process kicked off in the fall with the scouting of over 40 miles of trail throughout the region. These trails have not yet been approved by the USFS and are subject to change.
In early November, TMtC released a Telluride Regional Trails Survey to check in with the community, trail users, and stakeholders to understand current and future trail needs. We will use the survey responses to guide future planning, projects, priorities, and so much more. TMtC is interested in supporting the community’s vision, not creating its own. Please take the survey here to help us plan for the future.
TMtC continues to document user trends on popular trails, initiate education and stewardship initiatives for the region, and keep trail counters active on three popular trails.
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 $35,323 since its inception and $15,700 in 2021. You can support Opt in for Trails at various businesses in town.
With increased regional trail use since the onset of the pandemic, 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 trail ethics to new and veteran users. TMtC initiated paid digital ads in 2021 targeting people on vacation in Telluride. The ads spoke to various trail etiquette protocols (ex: leave no trace; toilet paper is trash, pack it out; stay on the trail; be prepared; etc.) Over the course of the summer, these ads reached 34,497 people.
In line with educating trail users, TMtC put together informational brochures for hotels, concierges, and gear shops that addressed trail etiquette. We distributed 500 of these brochures over the course of the summer.
In 2021, TMtC partnered with the Telluride Tourism Board, Telluride Rotary, and Second Chance Humane Society on five community cleanup weekends in an effort to maintain awareness of the importance of leaving no trace in the backcountry. Additionally, we partnered with the Telluride Tourism Board and USFS on staffing farmers marketing throughout the summer to promote proper trail etiquette, campfire/camping protocols, and answer recreational questions from the public.
In the spring, TMtC initiated conversations with Telluride Ski & Golf (TSG) about the importance of a cross country pass for the public to be able to access publicly funded trails (before this pass was released to the public). TSG thoughtfully included a cross country pass with their product offering after these conversations.
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 promote trail updates, closure info, alerts, and news on telluridemountainclub.org, Facebook and Instagram. We also continuously apply for grants to help with regional trail project funding.
TELLURIDE VIA FERRATA RECAP
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 . We started the season with a volunteer group maintenance day to better clear the trail corridor. Additionally, we put in new signage at the beginning of the season.
TMtC utilizes social media and other measures (KOTO) to keep the public up to date on via ferrata access and closures of the route. TMtC has worked diligently to keep the Via Ferrata free and open to the public over the years.
More recently, TMtC is coordinating with the USFS on initial conversations regarding future NEPA for the route. This process is likely to start in 2022 and will be initiated and run by the USFS.
REGIONAL CLIMBING RECAP
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.
During the 2020-2021 season, the PI Avy Fund hosted five free Telluride Backcountry Chats aimed to help spread backcountry awareness throughout our region. These chats were hosted via zoom and uploaded to YouTube for more learning opportunities into the future. Last winter, the PI Fund awarded $2,600 in scholarships to 15 individuals for avalanche education courses. Scholarships were given for companion rescue courses, Avy 1 courses and Avy 2 courses.
The PI Avy Fund initiated coordination with several partners to get beacon checkers at popular backcountry access points for the 2021-2022 season. The PI Avy Fund worked with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear to fund beacon checkers and signage for TSG at the various backcountry access gates. 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.
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 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 2021! We couldn’t have achieved any of our accomplishments without you.
If you have questions about the projects and programming accomplished in 2021, please email email@example.com. You can become a member or supporter of the club and our projects/initiatives here.
We hope you will join us in 2022!
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
Jordan Carr – Trails Director