Denver, CO. (August 16, 2019) – On Friday, August 16, AP employees spent the day on Grays and Torreys Peaks, helping preserve hiking trails in partnership with Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI).
CFI estimates that Colorado’s 14ers experienced 334,000 hiker use days in 2017 (2018 data pending). Each year, that number climbs by about 7%. Grays and Torreys are among the most heavily used in the state coming in at 25,000-30,000 hiker use days.
“Many AP employees have hiked, biked, or climbed one, many, or all of Colorado’s 14ers,” said AP Safety Manager, Jeremy Hakes. “It’s important to us that we help to minimize our impact and give back to the amazing places where we spend our free time with our friends and families.”
To do this, AP employees spent a day working with the CFI crew at the above-11,200’ trail location.
First, the team de-barked 6’-8’ long logs, as peeling the bark off logs increases the longevity of the wood. Bark provides both a home for damaging insects and a place for moisture to collect, which can ultimately lead to rot.
These large, debarked logs were then carried by 4-6 people along the trail and placed at strategic spots to serve as steps and check dams on the steep trail. Check dams are best used as holding structures for soil and serve to recontour the existing surface tread to arrest further erosion and hold soils in place during site restoration.
Next, the team helped the CFI crew dig out the trail surface to bury the logs, then backfill them into place.
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative protects and preserves the natural integrity of Colorado’s 54 14,000–foot peaks —the “Fourteeners”— through active stewardship and public education.
Colorado’s Fourteeners contain rare and fragile native alpine tundra ecosystems that are uniquely adapted to living on these high peaks. These tundra plants –some of which exist nowhere else on earth– are ill-adapted to being trampled by the estimated 334,000 hiker use days that occur on these peaks every year. In many places, resource damage is past the point of natural recovery.
Through this unique, voluntary partnership, Colorado’s 14er ecosystems are protected from harm while continuing to make the peaks accessible to hikers without burdensome restrictions and fees.
Learn more here: https://www.14ers.org/