Several public lands groups have helped clear avalanche debris from a large section of the Colorado Trail near Elk Creek, near Molas Pass.
The slide occurred during the heavy snowfall during winter 2018-19, according to a news release issued this week by the San Juan National Forest. In all, four debris piles covered the trail with thousands of downed trees, creating a dangerous obstacle for trail hikers and an impassable barriers for horses and livestock, according to the release.
Several groups worked together to clear the first two of the massive debris piles.
The project took more than 18 days using crosscut saws to move the downed trees and debris, according to the release. The Southwest Conservation Corps and Columbine wilderness crews cut out 500 trees in a stretch of eight days. The groups plan to continue work next year by removing the third and fourth debris piles.
“This was a really advanced and complex cutting situation,” said Columbine District’s Lead Wilderness Ranger Kristina Schenck.
The Columbine Ranger District asked the San Juan Mountains Association to work in a shared stewardship effort on the debris removal project. The nonprofit, with support from the Weminuche Wilderness Stewardship Fund and matching grants from the National Forest Foundation and VF Foundation, enlisted the Southwest Conservation Corps in the effort.