Mesa County Public Health’s Trail Crew Prepares for Busy Season
THE BIG PICTURE OF LOCAL TRAILS
The Trail Crew at Mesa County Public Health is passionate about outdoor recreation. They work to plan, create, and maintain trails across the county. Their focus is on increasing access for locals and beginners. When residents have easy access to trails, it encourages physical activity which is beneficial for people’s overall health.
Mesa County Public Health brought on an in-house trail crew in 2023 to provide a career pathway and training program to the next generation of natural resource leaders. The four person crew builds and maintains non-motorized trails across the County in collaboration with municipal and community partners. The crew builds their skills and knowledge by working alongside experts in the field. The current crew brings a collective 10 years of relevant experience.
“The crew’s work offers value to our community, both for locals and visitors alike, by providing care and expansion of a valuable resource. There’s an immense amount of value that trails contribute to the overall health and well-being of our community. Quality outdoor recreation can help improve a person’s physical, mental, and social health,” said Ross Mittelman, the Trails Coordinator for Mesa County Public Health.
The team wants to build momentum on the trails and recreation work that was completed in 2022. Last year, the crew maintained 50 miles of trails in Mesa County, while building nearly ten miles of new trail at 18 Road. This year, they intend to build about ten miles of trail, depending on the type of trail and weather conditions.
The team is already hard at work expanding outdoor recreation opportunities. Their duties vary greatly from day to day depending on the weather this time of year. This week alone, our crew teamed up with the Eureka! Science Center, Riverside Education Center, and the Colorado West Land trust to plant willows on the Monument Connector Trail. They also removed invasive species at Riverbend Park in Palisade and at Big Salt Wash in Fruita. Later in the week, the crew plans to work alongside the Forest Service clearing snow at different trailheads on the Mesa.
PLAN FOR THE SPRING AND SUMMER
Once the ground dries out, the crew will begin trail maintenance and spring repairs at several locations, including Lunch Loops, Kokopelli, and 18 Road trail systems. The main repairs include cutting drainages and working on tread erosion repair. Later in the spring, they will begin building trails at 18 Road.
The trail crew will assist with deferred maintenance on a Forest Service trail during the summer through a contract with the National Forest Foundation. This year they will likely spend about 12 weeks working on the Corral Forks Trail on the Uncompahgre National Forest and the Kannah Creek Trail on the Mesa. In the fall, they plan to continue their work building trails at 18 Road.
The trail crew works closely with several partners to help build and maintain trails in Mesa County. Some of our principle partners include the Bureau of Land Management, the City of Grand Junction, the City of Fruita, the Town of Palisade, COPMOBA, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
TRAIL CREW RECOMMENDATIONS
This time of year, the team recommends staying off of trails when it’s muddy or wet. Often, conditions might be dry around the trailhead, but the conditions can change farther down the trail in a canyon or a north facing, steep slope. The crew recommends turning back at that point. If you do need to pass through the mud, it’s best to ride through a wet spot then around it; it can widen the trail over time, which is not ideal.
Suggestions for those starting out:
- Make sure equipment is working properly. If you’re not sure or need some help, check in with one of our local bike shops.
- Wear a helmet.
- Check the weather forecast
- Pack water and snacks.
- Select trail types and lengths that suit your skill level.
- Bring a friend.
- Let someone know beforehand where you are headed and when you’ll be back.
- Stay on the trail.
- Follow directional travel.
- Yield to uphill riders and people on horseback.
- If you pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave it just the way you found it (take only pictures).
- Take your time.
- Enjoy the ride!
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE MCPH TRAIL CREW
Are you interested in utilizing the trail crew for local trail work? Connect with Ross Mittelman at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Media Inquiries, contact:
Public Health Agency