5-Day Backcountry: Island Lakes Trail Restoration @ Flat Tops Wilderness

*DEPOSIT REQUIRED* Explore and restore one of Colorado's largest Wilderness areas.
Type of Work:
Trail Restoration/Maintenance
July 22, 2019 - July 26, 2019
8:00 am-4:00 pm
Physical Difficulty:
Minimum Age:
Western Slope
Groups Allowed:
Payment Required:
Individual, Family, Friends Registration
You will be sent to a secure registration site.


Where You'll Be:
Located in Northwest Colorado and home to approximately 110 lakes and ponds, the Flat Tops Wilderness is known as the "Cradle of Wilderness" for seminal role in the passage of the Wilderness Act. Precisely 100 years ago, U.S. Forest Service employee Arthur Carhart was sent to survey plans for summer cabins at Trappers Lake. Instead, he became convinced that the area should be preserved, becoming one of the first USFS officials to advocate for the type of preservation that would later become known as Wilderness Areas. The Flat Tops was designated as a "Primitive Area" in 1932, pre-dating the official passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964 by 32 years. The Flat Tops now spans more than 235,000 acres and two National Forests and features 160 miles of trails.

What You'll Do:
You're invited to spend five days enjoying - and restoring - one of Colorado's most unique and iconic landscapes. With a group of no more than 15 people, you'll hike 10 miles with 2,000 ft. elevation gain to your backcountry basecamp and spend the days installing signs, restoring campgrounds, rerouting trail, and performing tread and corridor maintenance along the Island Lakes Trail.

Car camping will be available at Trappers Lake for those who arrive the day before the hike-in, and meals will be provided by a talented backcountry Crew Chef. Pack string support will be provided for camp gear and tools, but volunteers should be prepared to carry their own personal gear (including camping gear, clothes, toiletries, water, etc.) and may be asked to help carry in food.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the 15-person limit in Wilderness areas and the duration of this project, even one late cancellation can be detrimental to our volunteer recruitment and outdoor stewardship efforts. As such, a deposit of $80 is required to register. This deposit will be refunded in full upon completion of the project, or upon cancellation more than two weeks prior to the project. Deposits will not be refunded if you cancel less than two weeks before the project. If the deposit causes an undue financial hardship, please contact Emily Schaefer at 303-715-1010 ext. 116.

Why It Matters:
The remote vastness of the Flat Tops Wilderness and limited staffing of the Blanco Ranger District create significant challenges in keeping up with maintenance needs. Your participation will be a tremendous help to the Forest Service in keeping the trail in working order and protecting the surrounding Wilderness.

Need-to-Know Details:

  • Minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older on overnight projects.
  • All days are required due to the remote location of the project.
  • Volunteers are responsible for providing their own camping equipment. VOC will provide meals, tools, and work gloves.
  • Cancellation: Our partners rely on VOC volunteers to accomplish critical stewardship needs, and our projects often have wait lists. If you need to cancel, please contact Emily Schaefer at 303-715-1010 ext. 116 as soon as possible so we can free your spot for another volunteer and have a full workforce.

About Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is the state's oldest, largest, and leading outdoor stewardship nonprofit organization. Founded in 1984 to motivate and enable people to become active stewards of Colorado's natural resources, VOC has engaged nearly 120,000 people in more than 1,000 volunteer projects for a donated labor value of $24 million. Through award-winning youth and volunteer programs, leadership training, capacity-building programs, and collaborative efforts with nonprofits and land management agencies, VOC is an invaluable resource in Colorado, especially as our outdoor stewardship needs are approaching near-crisis levels. For more information, visit www.voc.org or call 303-715-1010.