A volunteer does trail work at a previous volunteer event. [Courtesy of Grand County]

Grand County Active Transportation and Trails held its first trail adoption program training in early March. A small group of volunteers learned the basics of caring for a mountain bike trail, like how to rake off-trail tracks, how to address erosion, and how to smooth over “brake bumps.”

“With the increasing number of users on non-motorized trails and with community members wanting to be more involved, we wanted to create more of an ongoing volunteer program,” said Laura Harris, the community engagement coordinator at GCATT.

Plus, she said, county staff noticed more and more community members had been adopting certain trails individually, so they wanted to provide more of an official volunteer opportunity.

Each volunteer chose a specific trail within a system—some volunteers are adopting the Lazy/EZ loop in the Moab Brand Trails, some are adopting sections of Pipe Dream. Volunteers will scout the trail every few weeks during the busy season—spring to fall—and complete simple maintenance. If there are any bigger issues, the volunteers can alert the trail crew. Harris expects eight to ten long-term volunteers for the adoption program, she said.

The Active Transportation and Trails department designs, builds, and maintains trails throughout the county, puts out mud reports after snow or rain, and organizes volunteers to rake out cow tracks or pull weeds. The department’s trail maintenance mostly focuses on mountain biking trails—Moab is a world-famous destination for bikers. They also run the Grand County Trail Mix Committee.

Last year, the department also started a Trail Ambassador program in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, in which paid staff run informational tables at trailheads to educate trail users. They also hire seasonal Trail Technicians, who build and maintain trails.

“I’m hoping just in general, this program will gain even more support for the [trails] organization,” Harris said. “And get people excited to volunteer, especially because there are so many local folks who love our trails so much.”

The adoption program is just getting started, Harris said, so the department isn’t taking on any more volunteers for this specific program. But, anyone interested in volunteering can keep an eye out for future opportunities on the Moab Trail Mix Facebook and Instagram pages.