About the Stewardship Site
The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, located in south-central Colorado and bordered by the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to the west, offers a rugged, isolated, and authentic wilderness experience to all that visit. Dozens of alpine lakes, countless cascading waterfalls, an impressive network of trails, and four fourteeners lie nestled in the 220,803-acre Sangre de Cristo Wilderness - making it home to abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation.
About the Volunteer Experience
Volunteers will help maintain and restore parts of a loop made by connecting the San Isabel Trail and the North Crestone Trail. Tasks will include improving drainage, replacing broken or missing signs, installing cairns (carefully constructed stone trail markers), and removing fallen trees and other obstacles. The campsite that volunteers will backpack to is approximately 5 miles from the trailhead, and travel from the campsite to the worksite each day may require hikes of an additional 4- to- 5 miles. The Saguache Ranger District will provide pack support with horses and mules to carry in food, tools, and group gear, but volunteers should be prepared to hike in with all personal camp gear and equipment needed for the week. The first and last days of the project are solely reserved for hiking in or out and camp setup and tear down, and volunteers will be able to hike at their own pace while enjoying the lush aspen groves and towering peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. If the breathtaking scenery doesn't leave you breathless, the altitude will!
Note: Due to the remote backcountry nature of this project, volunteers are required to register for all five days of the project. Volunteers not registered for the entirety of the project will be removed from the registration list.
About the Overall Impact
The remoteness of wild places that attract us to them also create natural barriers that make maintenance to the trails we use to experience these places difficult and often infrequent. Volunteers will make improvements on these trails that have seen little or no maintenance for more than a decade. A common occurrence to these high alpine trail systems is the encroachment of willow and other vegetation that can overtake a trail if not cut back. When this happens, trail users often make their own reroutes which erode into water sources and cause other types of resource damage. By maintaining and reestablishing the original route, we are minimizing this overall impact.