Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Last Year’s Achievements

  • The 2.5 mile Columbine Trail was SMT’s first major accomplishment with our US Forest Service partner and our first connector trail leading from the Rainbow Trail to the Bear Creek section of the trail. This trail is also the first singletrack trail one can ride up to the Rainbow Trail from the Forest Service gate on CR101. The Southwest Conservation Corps, sponsored by SMT, spent 14 days working on this trail. SMT allocated another $300 to support Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado’s efforts on this project.
  • Helped USFS design of the Cottonwood Trail construction slated to start in April 2014. This trail will be our first long-distance trail leading from town on the Arkansas Foothills side of the valley. Volunteers began clearing the upper portion of the Cottonwood Trail by limbing and also removing a few trees. A $6,000 grant from the Chaffee County Board of Commissioners was used to hire local professional trail builder Tony Boone to complete two miles of construction on the new Cottonwood Trail. Also, in partnership with the local office of the Southwest Conservation Corps, SMT applied for a grant for the construction of the Cottonwood Trail. Missed the grant award by ½ point but learned a lot.
  • Contributed $1,000 to the City’s acquisition of the Lowry property. Through this acquisition, SMT was able to work with the US Bureau of Land Management in approving and rerouting the South Backbone Trail.
  • Participated in the Arkansas Valley Trail Alliance weekend work project to restore and reroute portions of the Greens Creek Trail.
  • SMT provides volunteer staff support for community events i.e., Run Through Time, Vapor Trail 125, and last year’s return of the Banana Belt Race.
  • SMT provided over 1500 hrs. of volunteer work within the Salida community including heavy maintenance on the North Backbone trails and Lower Sand Dunes after the heavy Labor Day weekend thunderstorm severely damaged trails.
  • Raised more than $16,000 from events such as Run Through Time and Vapor Trail 125 as well as private donations.
  • SMT spread its wings from the nest that was Salida Parks Open Space Trails and became its own freestanding 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Looking Ahead to 2014

Cottonwood Trail Project – From the junction of CR 175 & FS181 to the Backbone Trail (approximately 8 miles).  This project will provide 6.1 miles of new (and existing) trail in the National Forest and will also allow use of an additional one mile of previously approved BLM trail, but not authorized until this 6.1 mile portion is completed.  This trail project will provide the critical link needed to complete a 17-mile loop beginning and ending in downtown Salida utilizing the Arkansas Hills Trail System!  Mike Sugaski is leading this effort.  Contact him for more info msugaski@bresnan.net

Arkansas Hills Trail System – Early in 2014 the City of Salida completed the purchase of 80 acres that will allow the existing South Backbone Trail to have legal egress and allow rerouting where necessary to remain sustainable over the long term.  It will also allow for planning and construction of additional trails in the area to provide substantial expansion of the Arkansas Hills Trail System. More details soon, this is huge!

Methodist Mountain Trail System – We are developing a master plan for the Methodist Mountain side utilizing ideas from our trails subcomittee, input from the city, and collaboration with the BLM and USFS.  Stay tuned for more details as this exciting plan is developed.  Mary Ann Davidson is leading this effort.  Contact her for more info at maryann1006@gmail.com

Other important trail projects in 2014 will include the following:

  • Contract more trail work on the New Cottonwood Trail
  • Reconstruct a portion of the Lost Trail
  • Reconstruct/reroute a portion of the Rainbow Trail
  • Develop a trailhead at the top of Cottonwood Trail
  • Plan for more trails off the Little Rainbow Trail
  • Maintain existing trails
  • Apply for more trail grants
  • Attend trail construction workshops hosted by public land management agencies
  • Develop more partnerships and revenue generating programs to fund all this great work.

Sponsors (in alphabetical order): Absolute Bikes, Ark Valley Libation Society, Arrowhead Trails, Boathouse Cantina, Bureau of Land Management, Chaffee County Commissioners, Chaffee County Running Club, City of Salida, River’s Edge Bar & Restaurant, Salida Bike Company, Salida Mountain Sports, Southwest Conservation Corps, Salida Parks, Open Space and Trails, Subculture Cyclery, Tony Boone Trails, US Forest Service, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.


Excellent overview video produced by local photographer/videographer and SMT board member Tim Ryan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Zx4GEiwBI