With COVID-19 safety precautions and restrictions imposed by the Governor’s office and a virtual National Trails Day being silenced nationally by the American Hiking Society to “suspend our promotion of National Trails Day® in solidarity with the ongoing protests across the country”, our Chapter had already decided to limit work parties to “Same-Household” groups and work individually on our favorite trails. In our household, we took on a project that Buckhorn Range Chapter member Summer Martell had suggested back on Valentine’s Day to install a hitch rail near the picnic table at the Vista point on the Silent Alder Loop trail in Gibbs Lake County Park.

After spending the day Saturday obtaining materials and creating the hardware to fasten the rail to the posts, I loaded up the truck Sunday morning. Judith and I moved the material to the work site and then spent the rest of the day digging holes and erecting the new hitch rail. Our newest canine co-worker, Ruby, was on hand to supervise and has inherited our old dog Tigger’s skills at photobombing.

One of the primary concerns that Jefferson County Parks manager Matt Tyler had was manure at the picnic area, so I suggested that a manure fork be placed there with a sign asking folks to clean up after their horses. Matt liked this idea and gave the go-ahead. We placed a manure fork there, and a sign will be installed soon. Jim Shaver of Quimper Trails Association, the mountain bike group that has built and maintained the trail system at Gibbs Lake County Park, also mentioned that there has been a lot more manure on the trails lately. This indicates more equestrian use which is great, but it is annoying to other users, so let’s be considerate of them by getting our horses to the side of the trail when possible, or dismounting to kick it off the trail if you can safely do so.

Once the Silent Alder Trail is re-opened after the logging activity is over, this spot will be a nice place to stop and have a snack while taking in the view of West Valley below. You can view more photos of the project by clicking on the link below.


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