Spending time outdoors is a hobby many of us who live in Summit County, Colorado share; it’s part of the mountain lifestyle! Our national forest land is some of the most visited in the country; how does our public land stay so pristine? The Dillon Ranger District and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD), a local non-profit organization, work year-round to maintain our public lands and educate community members and visitors in the county. In appreciation of all FDRD does in support of the Forest Service and our trails, I will be donating $100 this month to this astounding organization.

rsz_fdrd_dillon_colorado.jpgView of the entrance of the Dillon Ranger Station and offices of FDRD.

Trail maintenance, watershed restoration, educational programming, and planting trees are a few of the important things FDRD does in partnership with the Forest Service and local stakeholders. With over 60 projects accomplished each year by volunteers of FDRD, 430 miles of trail are maintained in Summit County. The mission of FDRD is “for the community to play a more active role in the sustainable management of the local forest and to enhance the experiences of all who recreate [in Summit County].” With 674 volunteers putting in 3,750 hours of work in 2020, FDRD aids in the effort of creating a reliable trail system for all to access as eighty percent of land in Summit County is National Forest. An increased number of visitors to our Forest Service land necessitates more trail projects each year. A recent project revitalized a common hike with gorgeous views for visitors of every skill level.

While visiting the Dillon Ranger Visitor Center, I spoke with Emily, the Marketing and Events Manager at FDRD, about this project that was recently completed by FDRD volunteers and Forest Service Rangers. Sapphire Point trail was in need of maintenance due to its immense popularity. For this project, tread filling was repaired to prevent trail erosion, and bucket fencing was put in place to ensure restoration is needed areas by keeping visitors on the trail. Projects like these give volunteers a chance to give back to the trails that they use for hiking, biking, or backcountry skiing.

rsz_sapphire_point_trail_project.jpgVolunteers working on the Sapphire Point Trail Project. Photo: Elaine Collins

Giving to FDRD means investing in the public lands we use all year long. If you would like to get involved in maintaining our pristine public lands, there are a few options! Signing up to help with a trail project is a great way to get outside and meet other locals who want to volunteer every once in a while! Wanting to get involved all summer long? Consider adopting a trailhead or applying to be a ranger patroller. Does becoming a member sound like the kind of commitment you want to make to a local non-profit? With different levels available, you’ll have access to member-only events. Wanting to make a one-time donation like I did this month? It’s easy to do so online: Even a small donation goes a long way in maintaining the trails we love.

Check out the online calendar of FDRD to sign up to volunteer and find out more information: