New trail machine leaves builders giddy | SteamboatToday.com

New trail machine leaves builders giddy

Barrett Brown, of Single Track, drives the machine he designed off a truck Monday, delivering the $100,000 trail builder to Steamboat Springs' Routt County Riders organization. Brown said he's seen plenty of excited groups accept deliveries in the past, but Steamboat's group stood out. "A lot of groups have worked hard, and some have some of the community support this group has, but no one can touch the total community support these guys have put together," he said. "It's really the envy of every program in the country. Really."

Morning Gloria Trail set to go

The Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department announced Monday that Routt County Riders had been awarded a contract of $102,775 in grant funds from Great Outdoors Colorado to build the Morning Gloria Trail.

The city agreed to match $58,000 with money from the 2A accommodations tax money. The trail building will include Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Conservation Youth Corp workers.

The trail is named after Gloria Gossard, and much of it is on land the longtime local philanthropist donated to the city.

The trail will stretch 4.2 miles in a loop on the front side of Emerald Mountain, providing expansive views of the Yampa Valley.

— Barrett Brown has seen excitement. It comes with the territory, as the inventor and producer of a machine that, at its core, makes fun things happen.

His company, Single Track, designs and builds small singletrack-building construction and earth-moving machines. Translation: His company makes cutting bike trails easier and faster. When his factory finishes a machine and delivers it to a customer, there's always excitement.

"But it's never like this," he said Monday, moments after unloading his company's 11th machine off of a flatbed truck at the Bear River Bike Park in Steamboat Springs.

Routt County Riders accepted delivery of its newest and coolest tool Monday, and trail-building enthusiasts couldn't contain their excitement as Brown handed over the keys.

"It's fantastic," Aryeh Copa said. "It will save everyone a lot of money and time and a lot of back. We get to do the heavy lifting and the hard work and rely on human labor just for the finish work."

The machine cost nearly $100,000, about half of which Routt County Riders has managed to collect in the past six months via fundraising and donations. It landed big checks from Moots ($12,500) and another big sum (another $12,500) and a big loan from Yampa Valley Bank in addition to plenty of other private donations of money and labor.

The result is a machine the trail-building community said will revolutionize their work.

The process of building trails typically involves an army of volunteers and months of work. The Quarry Mountain Trail, one of the newest trails in Emerald Mountain's mostly hand-built network, stretches 1 1/4 miles and took an entire summer, plus some time the following spring, to build.

Gretchen Sehler — who with her husband, Marc Sehler, heads up much of Routt County Riders' trail-building efforts — said the Single Track machine could accomplish the same in about a week.

"It's going to make our lives a lot easier," she said.

She estimated a volunteer can make about 10 feet of trail per day by hand. The machine could help realize 1,200 feet per day.

Big plans are ahead for the machine. First up is the Morning Gloria Trail, a longtime "want" for the Sehlers but difficult to approach when it may take years to build. Now, builders are hoping to have the 4-mile trail in by August, if weather cooperates.

Brown actually will help with that process. He spent Monday morning working with area trail builders, teaching them the ins and outs of his machine. He'll continue the process all week, getting out to help start the process.

His machine left locals amazed Monday.

Its most distinctive characteristic is that it's small, marvelously thin compared to most small dozers and excavators — "Cute, but powerful," Routt County Riders' Wendy Tucciarone said.

It has an articulating blade on the front, another key feature, and an excavating shovel.

It's so slick, it doesn't even need a driver. Brown drove it off the truck with a large remote control setup.

It all left Steamboat Springs' trail builders positively giddy.

"It's going to give me 10 more years of building," Sehler said.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9