Bob Korch: Excited for hiking season

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On behalf of Friends of Wilderness, a big "thank you" to Nancy Workman for your wonderful letter to the editor advocating for wilderness, published in the Today on April 12. I hope to personally meet you sometime so we can share our mutual love for keeping wilderness wild.

If you're not familiar with Friends of Wilderness, we are an all-volunteer, “boots on the ground” organization with the mission of assisting the U.S. Forest Service in managing and protecting our local wilderness areas — Mount Zirkel, Sarvis Creek and Flat Tops. Among other things, we clear trails of the many fallen trees and educate wilderness visitors, particularly with Leave No Trace backcountry ethics.

Our volunteers are as excited as I’ve ever seen them about the hiking season just ahead. However, they temper their enthusiasm with the knowledge that it will be weeks yet before most of our wilderness trails have opened up from the winter snow.

For hikers looking to get an early start there are two very good options. Mad Creek Trail, which enters the wilderness approximately a mile after the historic barn, should be open next week after the seasonal elk closure. Another option for early season wilderness hiking is Silver Creek Trail, near Yellow Jacket Pass.

We plan to provide regular trail updates via a blog on our newly expanded website FriendsofWilderness.com. Those wishing to join our volunteers can contact us through the website. And we also hope to share additional trail and wilderness information this summer when we resume our regular "Wilderness Wanderings” column in the Steamboat Today.

Bob Korch

Friends of Wilderness president

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