Harriet Freiberger: What’s in a name?
April 30, 2017
Lynn Jones did not need a map to get where he needed to go in the 350,000 acres of National Forest where he worked. The trees and trails of the Hahn's Peak District were home. Yes, he had a house on Strawberry Park Road in Steamboat Springs, a building he had built from the bottom up, including the septic system he dug by hand. But the forest filled 31 years of his life while he was a general district assistant in the Routt National Forest Service.
The seasons of those years synced with what his job description, defined as work. That work became play for his family on summer weekends, when they gathered pinecones around the Seedhouse guard station. His children learned the two step kick walk their father used, clearing the trail of oversized rocks without even breaking stride.
Everyone who had anything to do with the forest knew the slender man in the billed cap. He kept track of them all, the ones who cut timber and where it was going; the ones who came and went with grazing herds of cattle and bands of sheep.
Horses, mules, and mechanical equipment also required his attention. When summer changed to winter, he prepared the guard stations for six months of piled up snow. Then, he re-opened them in the spring, clearing up the mess left by woodchucks and squirrels.
From the Continental Divide west to the ridge between Steamboat Lake and California Park, from U.S. 40 north to the Wyoming border, Lynn did it all — managed trail crews, sheet-rocked a guardhouse when needed, repaired buildings and equipment and cleared fallen trees that blocked trails.
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Qualified as a forest blaster, he oversaw use of dynamite when blockage necessitated the most forceful attention. Walking, he opened water bars that prevented the trails from washing out; riding, he drove the green forest service truck and maintained it, as well. Whether at Hahn's Peak lookout tower or the Gilpin Lake Pass Trail he had built, Lynn Jones knew what to do and how to do it.
Now, 10 years and one month since his death at age 88, the men who worked with Jones see the naming of the new trail on Buffalo Pass as an opportunity to honor a man who honored the National Forest with his life's work.
A child of Routt County, the youngster grew to manhood before World War II, when renew, recycle and re-use meant survival. The National Forest back then was much more than a playground. And today, it is more than a place on a map. Vision has widened, and those old words have taken on even larger meaning.
Passionate people in the forest's neighboring town have assumed the responsibility for creating something new. Five miles of a marked trail is bringing men, women and children together at a time when too many people can see only differences.
Lynn Jones was a builder whose work connected past and future, and his name speaks to this present. The Lynn Jones Trail would show us the way to go forward.
The unveiling of the first trail name of the Buffalo Pass trails, constructed in partnership with the city of Steamboat Springs Accommodation Tax, will take place during an anticipated ribbon cutting ceremony currently planned for June 23.
Submitted entries for that name will be narrowed down by the USFS to a list of finalists, which will be voted on by the public.
Public voting will take place between May 15 and June 16. Individuals can cast votes either online with a donation to the trail maintenance fund, at yvcf.org/trails, or in person at the USFS office.
Submitted on behalf of Forest Service Retirees Larry Belton, Leo Snowden, and Jim Ficke.
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