Friday, September 14, 2012

Guaje Ridge trail work completed

Update from Lynn Bjorklund of USFS and Southwest Nordic Ski Club:

Trail work on the upper half of Guaje Ridge trail from Mitchell Trail to Pipeline Road has been completed (for now).  It certainly isn’t perfect, but we are trying to get the most accomplished with the funding.  All those awful locusts have been cleared, the trail widened in spots, a minor reroute constructed, and drainage features added or improved.  Check it out and let me know (comment here) what you think.  This is OUR [due to cost share agreement between USFS and SWNSC] contract with volunteers making it possible, so feedback on how we are spending the money is solicited.  Reineke, our contractor, will be off on another job this next week.  Then the week of Sept 24, they will be back and starting reconstruction of north Mitchell Trail to what used to be Guaje Reservoir. 
Next on the agenda in October will be work on the Pajarito Nordic Ski Trails.  We have to wait until after the first frost to protect the Jemez Mtn Salamanders, and we will need a cultural survey clearance that is scheduled for the first week in October.  So, if all goes on schedule, perhaps the second or third week of October we will get the work done up there that will be directed by Clay.
Depending on weather and soil conditions, work on reconstruction of the trail up Guaje Canyon may get started.  Once the soils freeze up, then trail work will be over for the year, but the Nordic Ski Club will then be picking up on volunteer hours that will help fund work starting next Spring.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trail Contract starting on Guaje Ridge/Mitchell Trails

Note regarding upcoming trail work from Lynn Bjorklund of USFS: 

Thanks to SWNS Club, Volunteers, and Clay Moseley!
A contract trail crew will be starting work down Guaje Ridge Trail and north Mitchell trail this next week. There will be daily ATV traffic up and down Pipeline Road that is authorized as approved administrative access so that the contractor (Reineke trail construction) can get chain saws and trail equipment to the start of the trail off Pipeline road. There will be hand crews only on the actual trail, with no motorized equipment except a chain saw to clear downed trees and hazard trees. The Guaje Ridge/Mitchell Trails will be greatly improved soon, and all those locusts and aspen shoots removed off the trail.

Thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible, and especially the Southwest Nordic Ski Club who has partnered with the Forest Service to assist in the rehabilitation of all the fire affected trails in Los Alamos County. Under this agreement, there must be a 50% match of volunteer hours to utilize the federal funding for these contract crews. Clay Moseley waded through the maze of forms, RFPs, and contracting process to make this a reality amidst his own impossibly busy schedule.
The contractor will be working the trails that are more remote, such as Guaje Canyon and Caballo, for the next several years while Craig Martin leads local volunteers on the closer access trails.  The sign-in sheet for all these volunteer efforts explains that they are actually volunteering for the Southwest Nordic Ski Club to help meet the match to obtain the federal funding.  Over the next few years we will need something like 1300 volunteer hours to fully utilize these funds. All the upcoming fall work parties and winter grooming hours will count towards this goal.  
We are also planning to have Reieke do some additional work on the nordic ski course later in the fall to get the trails in better shape for this upcoming season.