As the snow melts, we are reminded that summer is right around the corner. But as we look ahead, lets also reflect on the successful year RTA had in 2021 thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and contractors. 2022 will be another busy year for RTA, so please read on to our see our upcoming work as well!
Great pressures were put on the mountain west during the outbreak of COVID-19, with an influx of tourism as people sought a quieter life and fresh air in the outdoors. Rico and its trails experienced this pressure, with a large increase of visitors and trail users. After receiving input from the community and our trail users, the RTA board decided to change its mission statement to remove the word “promote”, and instead add a focus on education. The revised mission of RTA is now “To steward the local and regional trail systems in and around Rico, Colorado, focusing on user education and the access, development, and use of non-motorized trails.”.
Circle Trail Official Designation and Connection Built
RTA has worked with the US Forest Service for the last several years to get the Circle Trail re-designated as an official USFS system trail. After receiving official designation in 2021, RTA hosted two weekends of trail work to complete a much needed section of trail between the top of the Circle Trail and Section Point of the Colorado Trail, connecting Rico to the CT. This project was difficult to access, and volunteers had to first drive a 4×4 road and then hike miles of trail just to get to the work area. Using grant funding provided by the National Forest Foundation, RTA community donations, and Scott Sports, we contracted Southwest Trail Solutions to lead each volunteer workday and help train our volunteers.
Ryman Trail Re-route
After several years of coordination between RTA and the USFS (including an RTA-funded cultural resource survey), the Ryman Trail reroute was officially approved for implementation. In the fall of 2021 RTA, using community donations and grant funding provided by The Rico Center, contracted Big Loops Trails to complete 3 miles of new trail for the reroute and another mile of trail reconstruction on the Ryman Trail. Big Loops Trails donated additional trail work while completing this project. This excellent work has helped transform Ryman into an accessible, sustainable trail that can be enjoyed in both directions by all non-motorized users. As part of this approval, Ryman Trail now has a seasonal trail closure for Elk Calving from May 15 through June 30 each year.
Rio Grande Southern Railroad Trail Approved!
After 4 years of coordination between RTA and the USFS, the Rio Grande Southern trail project has been approved! This important project will convert 3 miles of historic railroad grade to trail, and will include trail connections from the Montelores bridge at the Montezuma County/Dolores County line, to the Burnett Creek road southwest of Rico. This project includes authorization of a foot bridge to connect Scotch Creek road to the rail road grade. RTA, through grant funding provided by the Rico Center, contracted Woods Canyon Archeological Consultants, who conducted level II cultural resource documentation of historic resources along the project route to support this work. RTA expects the RGS Trail Project trail work to be completed in 2022.
RTA Fun Run and Donation to RFD
RTA hosted a 4th of July fun run with great turnout. The event raised $500 for the Rico Fire Department, which RTA matched for a total donation of $1,000.
RTA Fall FUNdraiser Event
In September 2021, we threw a fall fundraiser at Rico Town Park. Many thanks to all who came and supported this fun event!
Winter Singletrack Grooming
RTA’s volunteer groomers provided another great winter season of groomed singletrack trails for fat tire biking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
RTA 2022: New Board Member and Upcoming Work
Changes to RTA Board in 2022
In February 2022, Rico Resident Darrell Huber joined the RTA board. Darrell is passionate about outdoor recreation and his favorite trails include Circle, Roaring Fork, the Colorado Trail and Hermosa Trail. Darrell owned a bike shop and has enjoyed racing road and mountain bicycles over the years. He worked in the outdoor event business for years and enjoys doing Flintstone carpentry. In addition to adding Darrell, Katie Contillo, Mikey Contillo, and Jordan Carr have stepped down from the board. RTA thanks each for the years of work each donated volunteering for RTA.
Upcoming 2022 Trail Work
Volunteer Trail Workdays
RTA plans to have several volunteer trail workdays throughout the year. The goal will be to perform spring maintenance on Salt Creek Trail, and finishing/maintenance trail work on Circle Trail and Ryman Trail, both of which were constructed in 2021.
Rio Grande Southern Railroad Trail Implementation
With final approval of the RGS Trail, RTA and the USFS Dolores Ranger District Trail Crew will implement this important project which will convert 3 miles of historic railroad grade to trail, and will include constructed trail connections from the Montelores bridge at the Montezuma County/Dolores County line, to the Burnett Creek road southwest of Rico.
West Side Trail Maintenance Inventory and Volunteer Workdays
In 2022, using grant funding provided by the Rico Center, RTA will hire a trail specialist to help us inventory maintenance needs on trails west of Rico, including Horse Creek Trail, Burnett Creek Trail, and Wildcat Trail. This trail specialist will also help coordinate and lead volunteer work days to begin improving these trails.
New Meeting Schedule!
RTA has changed our meeting schedule to include monthly volunteer meetings and quarterly board meetings. Monthly meetings will usually be held on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information please check the calendar on our website. We encourage anyone interested in Rico trail work or advocacy to attend our monthly meetings!
Thank you for your continued support and interest in RTA. Stay tuned to our website, Facebook, or Instagram pages, and come join us this year!