Crew Members Arrive…and depart

It’s been a busy week of training, orientation, and educational activities here in Estes and now the crews are venturing off to there bunkhouses, work centers and campsites. Now we can recap the activities that prepped the crews for their field work.

The week started off with crew members arriving to Moraine Park and settling in for the week. The morning started out with ice-breakers and a game of ninja to get the crews up and moving. After logistics, paperwork and gear distribution the crews met individually to establish group expectations and goals.

Group of people doing fun games on a parking lot
Crew members start the morning with icebreakers
Group of people playing a game of ninja
Crew Leaders Amy and Tom square off in a game of ninja (Amy emerged victories)

Afterwards the crew leaders led training on Leave No Trace, back country essentials, tool safety and environmental hazards. Training was followed with a relay designed to test crew members on what they had learned, they had to pack a backpack, set up a bear hang, light a whisperlite, answer Ten Essential and LNT trivia and finish as a group in lightning position.

Group of friends sitting on the ground learning about whisperlite
Kawuneechee crew leader Dominic teaches his crew how to use a whisperlite
Person showing different kinds of tools towards a crowd not visible in the picture
Boulder Crew leader Tom teaches the crews about tool safety.
Group of trainees preparing a red backpack for hiking
Crew members finishing the first task of the relay
Trainees setting up a bear hang on a wide parking lot
On to the second task of setting up a bear hang
Group of people practicing lightning position on the ground
Crews finishing the relay in lighting position

Leader training was followed by a trip to the Warming House for boot fittings.

Woman fitting a boot to a man with people waiting in line on the background
Members of the Estes Crew Hunter and Ben getting fitted for boots at the Warming House

Wednesday started off with an educational program on the History of Rocky Mountain National Park led by local historian Jim Pickering. For this, the crews got out into the field to explore the makings of RMNP. After a quick lunch break the crews had Trails 101 training led by the Park Service to help understand trail design, tools, and safety.

Ranger discussing towards a group of trainees sitting on benches
Volunteer Trails Lead, Jesse, provide some background on trail maintenance, construction, and safety to the crews.

Thursday consisted of First Aid and CPR Training for crew members, while those who were already trained, headed to the Park to work on a trails project and prepare for National Trails Day on Saturday.

Group of workers lifting a rock
Amy, Tom, and John situate a rock for a check step.
Group of people attending a seminar about First Aid
Education Director, Rachel Balduzzi, leads a First Aid and CPR training for crew members.

On Friday the crews participated in Defensive Driver Training led by the Forest Service. Members of the Boulder Crew departed to their campsite to set up and prepare for the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance training  on Saturday.

Multiple tents situated in a forest
The Boulder Crew’s new home in Kelly Dahl Campground

National Trails day marked the culmination of training week for the crews as they headed out into the Park to work with Conservancy Members on trails in Moraine Park Campground. By the end of the day, the volunteers had installed 30 steps, resurfaced 300 feet of trail, and decommissioned over 50 feet of braided social trails to restore native habitat. The trails day ended with a great picnic and some s’mores by the campfire.

Workers setting up a forest trail
Conservancy members ready for our National Trails Day volunteer project.
Group of workers smashing small rocks along a trail in a mountainous area
Field Institute Assistant, Jo Wurst, smashes rock to help resurface eroded trail.
Two worker attempting to lift a large rock to build a trail
Will and Ben move rocks to create a retaining wall for trail tread.
Woman holding a mallet to smash small rocks along a newly created stairs
Amy winds up to crush small rocks while back-filling newly installed check steps.
Three people digging on a forest to create a trail
Dom, Eeland, and a Conservancy member work to place “gargoyles” on braided trail to encourage people to stay on trail.
Group of people smoothing out a newly created forest trail
Nearly completed resurfaced trail tread!
Workers standing beside trees to rest and have snacks
Conservancy members, staff, Conservation Corps crews enjoy a National Trails Day picnic with Rocky’s trail crew to finish off the day.
Group of volunteers posing for a picture on a hillside
With over 50 volunteers the Conservancy’s National Trails Day project was a huge success!

Now the crews are off to do field work with their agencies and will be sending posts updating on projects and trails!

-Des Otis Rawah Crew Leader

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