Volunteers spruce up trail

26 hikers put finishing touches on mountain biking path

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— Twenty-six hikers, joined by several playful four-legged companions, treaded up Lower Bear Trail Sunday morning carrying rakes and hoes.

The hikers woke up early Sunday to put the finishing touches on the Lower Bear Trail project.

Along with them were three dogs, including a husky and German shepherd mix.

"Let's have some fun," project supervisor Joey Klein told the workers as they began cutting away at the brush and knocking away roots and rocks from the trail's edges.

Klein, a representative from the International Mountain Biking Association who was there to lead the assignment, hiked a quarter-mile up the trail with his crew before they started the job.

Pete Wither, Routt County Riders president, said the volunteers showed up to finish a summer project that connected the Lower Bear Trail to the Elk Park Trail.

The new trail is about a mile-and-a-half long, Wither said.

Klein pulled a Pulaski ax from his pickup truck right before the hike, as the rest of the crew members huddled around his truck and took out hoes and weed cutters.

Some of the volunteers went for the McLeod fire tool, a combination rake and hoe.

A Pulaski has a blade on it that can be used for dirt grubbing and trenching.

With bear sightings not all that uncommon in the area, a bear was spotted a couple of weeks ago at Lower Bear Trail, one of the volunteers said.

Joe Laughlin, a member of the IMBA trail care crew, said a Trail Cat machine was used to do most of the paving.

Janet Faller, a local forester, said it took about two weeks to pave the trail, which was four years in the making.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps also did a lot of work on the trail this summer, Wither said.

The Routt County Riders have worked in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on the project and received a $13,000 grant from the state's lottery grant fund to help pay for the project.

Wither, for whom Pete's Wicked Trail on Mount Werner is named, said $50,000 worth of Great Outdoors Colorado grants was attained over the past 10 years to pay for trail building.

That money was spent on Pete's Wicked Trail, Mountain View Trail (which comes off the Continental Divide Trail and connects to Mount Werner) and a trail just south of Craig, Wither said.

Many of Sunday's volunteers are avid Lower Bear Trail mountain bike riders, he said.

"They're here to give back to the sport that gives them so much," Wither said.

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