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Numerology: Trail Counter

In the 1915 publication Trail Construction on the National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service defined a trail like this: “Mere ways through the forest, whether marked or not, are not regarded as trails; they are matters of woodcraft rather than of permanent forest improvement. A trail is a narrow highway over which a pack animal can travel with safety during the usual period when the need for a highway exists.” But by the 1930s, tails had become more than pack animal work roads as the nation began to embrace recreation. Today, trails are the lifeblood to the way we enjoy our public land, whether we’re using them to reach mountain tops, post top Strava times on mountain bikes, set speed hike times on long distance systems or simply go for a mindful stroll. Oddly enough, trails today face serious problems. No one wants to pay to maintain them. It’s time to take a serious look at our trail systems.

100 percent

The increase in the number of volunteers the U.S. Forest Service will use to maintain trails on public land over the next five years. The goal comes from the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, a bipartisan bill that President Obama signed into law last November.


Weight in pounds of one liter of water. It may be the heaviest thing that you carry, but it can also be the most important thing you carry.

June 7

The day EO staff and friends will work on a volunteer trail maintenance project with Jefferson County Open Space in Golden Colorado. Come out and join us or plan your own volunteer day project.

11 Million

The amount in dollars that Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has awarded to trail projects over the last year in the first disbursement of its $30 million Connect Initiative Grants. GOCO has commited to three years of grants.


Percentage of Coloradans who use trails. That’s 4.28 million users in a current population of 5.35 million.


Number of state parks in Colorado. Annual vehicle passes to access these parks are $70.


The number of use days the Colorado Fourteener Initiative attributes to hikers on Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert. The nonprofit raises funds to maintain trails on Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, helping to preserve their fragile environment and mitigate the impact of all those footsteps.

44.11 Million

Number of people hiking or backpacking in the United States between the spring of 2015 and 2016. In 2008, the number was 29.23 million.


Number of feet hikers on the 486-mile Colorado Trail climb as they make their way from Denver to Durango. The trail crosses eight mountain ranges and hits a high point of 13,271 feet as it crosses just below 13,334-foot Coney Summit. Volunteers and contributors are needed to help maintain the trail.


Number of new trails yet to be built or completed as part of the Colorado the Beautiful project announced by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2015. These include: The Colorado Front Range Trail, Lower Valley Trail, Rocky Mountain Greenway, Colorado Riverfront Trail, Ring the Peak, Peaks to Plains Trail, High Line Canal, Freemont Pass Trail, Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, Crested Butte to Carbondale Trail, Eagle Valley Trail, Palisade Plunge, Paths to Mesa Verde, North Elk Creek, Eldo-Walker Trail Connection and the Arkansas River Stage and Rail Trail.


Steps ultrarunner Karl Meltzer took setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail last summer, when he completed the feat in 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes. He burned 345,122 calories at an average pace of 3.28 miles per hour.


Milestone number of projects organized by Volunteers of Colorado to be reached in 2017 since their start 33 years ago. To celebrate all summer long, they are organizing seven signature projects throughout the state including one in Buena Vista this month. 

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