Recreation and Stewardship

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

One of the primary tiers of the Crested Butte Land Trust’s (Land Trust) mission is to provide sustainable recreational opportunities on our conserved properties, where that use is appropriate.

We have protected and built over 20 miles of natural surface trails in the Crested Butte region for passive, non-motorized recreation. A major driver for a number of these projects was protecting trail access from the Town of Crested Butte to our conserved properties, and ultimately, to the public lands beyond.

During the early years of the organization, the goal was to encourage recreationists to access and utilize the trails that they help conserved in their backyards. However, with the explosion of recent visitation to the Crested Butte region, the Land Trust has had to shift its messaging to include responsible use of conserved land. Trailheads are becoming overcrowded, parking is limited and causing resource damage, user conflicts are on the rise, trails are taking a beating, and trash has been more noticeable on conserved properties. It is the goal of the Land Trust to start campaigns and projects that help visitors on our conserved lands learn how to use and interact with our properties sustainably and responsibly. Our community has been very involved with a number of the Land Trust’s conservation projects in the past, and many community members still visit these properties every day and help with stewardship responsibilities. Owing to this, the Land Trust prioritized engaging with the community and other relevant stakeholders during our planning process to address increased visitation on conserved properties. In addition, our properties are located at the access points to public lands further up valley. This has presented a unique opportunity to engage visitors about proper backcountry ethics on both conserved and public lands.

The Land Trust is working with the community, relevant stakeholders and a landscape-planning firm to propose new designs for two of our major trailheads—the Slate River Trailhead and Peanut Lake Road. The goal of the new designs is to provide sustainable parking solutions, decrease resource impacts, encourage human powered access to these locations, minimize user conflicts, and to improve signage and information.

A further goal is to provide information to users before they even get out to the trailheads. The Land Trust has already completed some of these updates on Peanut Lake Road, but will be planning over the winter for implementation at the Slate River Trailhead next summer. The improvements on Peanut Lake Road have gone a long way toward decreasing impacts from parking and from vehicles on the road.

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