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Volunteers add half-mile trail to Floyd Hill Open Space

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Happy trails for you

By Corinne Westeman

In about six hours, the hillside that looked out over the Front Range was completely transformed. The grass and rocks were moved away, and a new trail was put in their place.

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On Saturday, more than 70 volunteers descended on Floyd Hill Open Space to build a half mile of new trail running up the ridge from the meadow.

“I’m amazed over the years at how much work (volunteers) can get done in a day,” said George Rasmussen, one of Saturday’s volunteers. “… We are creating a trail that will be used for decades.”

As part of National Get Outdoors Day, Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado hosted the first of three trail-building projects for the summer. The others are scheduled for July and August.

VOC is partnering with Clear Creek County over the next two years to help build segments of trail for the new park. The county said there are 15 trail segments planned, and the goal is to build the first seven segments this year between the county’s own trail-building team and VOC’s volunteers.

Saturday’s group came from all over the Denver area as well as Clear Creek County.

Floyd Hill’s Pettitt family joined in the fun, with Lisa Pettitt explaining that she heard about it from the Mountain Area Land Trust and figured the project would be a good thing to do with her family.

The Pettitts have hiked Floyd Hill Open Space before, she said, adding that it will be rewarding to come back and say they worked on this section of the trail.

Pettitt said she hopes more people from Floyd Hill and Clear Creek volunteer for future trail-building projects.

“We should enjoy where we live,” she continued.

Rasmussen, a former Evergreen and Conifer resident who now lives near Roxborough State Park, also heard about the project through MALT.

Both Rasmussen and VOC staff member Kelly Kaufmann pointed out that recent budget cuts have made volunteer participation in these projects more important than ever.

Thus, Rasmussen said he volunteered because he wanted to create an opportunity for people to use Floyd Hill Open Space.

“Plus, it’s good exercise,” he said of trail building.

David Dilenschneider and his wife Mary, of Centennial, had heard about the project through a flier in the mail. They also recruited David’s sister and brother-in-law, who were visiting Breckenridge from Louisville, Ky., because they figured Floyd Hill would be a good halfway-point.

“It’s a way to introduce them to Colorado life,” Dilenschneider said of his family. “It’s great to spend time with them since I last saw them at Christmas, help the environment and give back. I’ll never look at trails the same way again.”

He was happy that Saturday’s project — his first volunteer trail-building project — gave him the opportunity to pay it forward.

“We treasure our open spaces here in Colorado,” Dilenschneider said. “It’s easy to walk the trails, but somebody’s got to put them together.”