Glenwood Springs, Colorado – August 22, 2017 – On September 9-10, 2017, the famous Hanging Lake Trail will be closed to the public as volunteers work to improve the 1.2 miles of trail leading to the lake and Spouting Rock. The volunteers, brought together by nonprofits Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), will restore heavily impacted areas and structures, constructing highly technical check steps, water bars, staircases and retaining rock walls.
The volunteer project comes amid headlines of graffiti and blatant violations of posted rules, including incidents of people swimming in the fragile alpine lake. These infractions, along with 160,000+ annual visitors, have made the restoration project a high priority for demonstrating how volunteers can effectively address Colorado’s growing maintenance needs from overuse and lack of sustainable funding for public lands.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, which manages the area, has long relied on organizations like VOC and RFOV to address a backlog of maintenance needs in the area and across the state. RFOV has committed to providing stewardship work at Hanging Lake through an ongoing partnership with the USFS, and it will be their third time working with VOC on the site: in 2010 and 2011, the two organizations engaged more than 200 volunteers to maintain 1,600 ft. of trail, reconstruct rock walls and build 170 rock steps.
“The stewardship needs facing the Hanging Lake Trail and Colorado are simply too big to tackle alone,” explained David Hamilton, Executive Director for RFOV, “But with partnerships like the one between VOC and RFOV, we can reach more volunteers, use resources more effectively, and better preserve our public lands.”
The work at Hanging Lake is just one of many outdoor stewardship projects that VOC and RFOV are hosting this year. RFOV, which focuses on public lands between Aspen and Rifle, has 10 public volunteer projects this year while VOC, a statewide organization, is celebrating its 1,000th volunteer project with seven signature “Grand Milestone” projects, including the one at Hanging Lake.
“Our work depends on everyday individuals as well as organizations getting involved in caring for the outdoor places where they live, work and play,” said Ann Baker Easley, Executive Director for VOC, “There’s been talk about closing Hanging Lake or imposing user fees. If we want to keep our public lands open and accessible for generations to come, we need passionate Coloradans to do their part and work with organizations like VOC and RFOV.”
While the Hanging Lake project is full, those interested in volunteering can visit www.voc.org/volunteer or www.rfov.org to register for other opportunities across the state. Colorado land managers interested in using volunteers to address stewardship needs are also encouraged to submit an application for VOC’s 2018 project season at www.voc.org/land-managers.
About Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is a statewide nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to motivating and enabling people to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. Since 1984, VOC’s award-winning volunteer, youth, and leadership training programs have engaged nearly 110,000 people of all ages in caring for Colorado’s outdoors – a total donated labor value of $22 million. Such volunteer efforts have made a lasting impact on Colorado through hands-on work in fire and flood restoration, trail building and maintenance, tree planting and re-forestation, and more. For additional information, visit www.voc.org or call 303-715-1010.
About Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV)
RFOV was founded in 1995 by a small group of locals who saw the need for a volunteer organization to work in partnership with the public agencies and municipalities that manage, preserve and protect our public lands. Our goal was to support these land managers, as well as conservation-minded organizations, by providing a foundation of expertise and resources to complete high-quality, tangible projects. Built on the successful model of the Appalachian Trail Club and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, RFOV uses community involvement and a “hands-on” method to foster a sense of stewardship of our abundant natural areas. For more information, visit www.rfov.org or call 970-927-8241.