Volunteers with Trails 2000 worked to build the long-awaited connection between Sugar and Skyline trails this week on Raider Ridge.
The trail construction follows an environmental analysis passed by the Bureau of Land Management in September.
“The vision was always for Sugar to get to Skyline,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Trails 2000.
Trails 2000 anticipates starting work on the new Smokejumper’s Trail next week. The trail will start at the top of Skyline and run north from Raider Ridge.
It will honor Durango native Joseph Philpott, who died in an avalanche in 2013. He worked for the BLM as a smokejumper in Boise, Idaho.
Brown took Philpott’s mother, Margaret Philpott, up to the future site of Smokejumper’s Trail.
She said Margaret Philpott felt like it was an appropriate area to build a trail in his honor.
“Joe used to always come up here and run, and she really felt connected to him here,” Brown said.
The Smokejumper’s Trail is expected to have an 8 to 12 percent grade, which is fairly standard.
The Philpott family plans to install the commemorative sign for the Smokejumper’s Trail this month.