Many of us travel on roads within the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios area to get to the beautiful places we love. In fact, San Juan Public Lands cover more than 5,000 miles of paved, gravel, dirt or two-track roads.
The varied Colorado weather of snow, wind and occasional rain can make maintenance challenging on those roads and trails. In 2000, the San Juan National Forest, BLM Tres Rios Office and San Juan Mountains Association launched the “Adopt a Road” program and requested the help of people, groups and agencies to assist with these issues.
The Adopt a Road program attempts to keep Forest Service and BLM roads passable for recreationists. To do this, volunteers are needed for continuous surveying for problem areas, grading with heavy equipment, removal of downed trees, fixing road-drainage problems and replacing plugged or damaged culverts. Other issues include dealing with trash, cleaning up vandalized signs and gates, taking out trashy campfire rings and rehabilitating lands with resource damage.
Many Forest Service signs in our area are very old and need some TLC. Therefore, another part of this program is restoring and painting Forest Service signs around Pagosa Springs (Pagosa Ranger District) and Durango (Columbine Ranger District). In addition to myself, volunteers for this program include Vicki and Rick Boggs and Sharon Glassmaker.
Many signs have been kept up by this team along the Piedra Forest Service road north, the U.S. Highway 160 corridor and U.S. Highway 84 south of Pagosa. Glassmaker and I also have maintained signs along the northern corridor of the Columbine District, including those around Vallecito and Lemon reservoirs, as well as boundary signs.
The Pagosa Trail Riders OHV club is one of the great Adopt a Road partners. In 2013, club members built a steel fence crossover to allow OHVs to ride the Brockover Trail without opening a gate. This group has adopted many Forest Service roads and trails to clean and maintain for the San Juan National Forest.
With the continual decline of federal budgets, the Forest Service and BLM are becoming more reliant on volunteers to assist in any way they can, especially in service programs such as Adopt a Road. Thanks to all of the volunteers of this valuable program.
If you are interested in learning more about the Adopt a Road program or to volunteer, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patti Brady volunteers as the Adopt a Road coordinator for San Juan Mountains Association, a nonprofit dedicated to public land stewardship and education.