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Those enjoying the outdoors this weekend may notice some additional activity at Gateway Mesa Open Space, as volunteers begin to construct a new 2-mile soft-surface trail there.
The months-long project is a collaboration between the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation – which received a single anonymous $10,000 donation toward the trail – and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, which is providing the labor at three trail-building outings over the next several months.
The new hiking-only trail, named Legacy Trail, will connect to the existing Chuck’s Loop Trail at the property and will lead hikers through a mature ponderosa pine and fir forest. Legacy Trail will be different in that it will travel under a dense tree canopy, through a wetland understory, and will open up to views of unique rock formations.
“We are so excited to provide access to this undiscovered part of Gateway Mesa,” said Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Smullen. “The Town and the Parks and Trails Foundation are also excited to provide opportunities for residents to get their hands dirty and build a trail from scratch.”
The first building effort will be this Saturday, June 1, in celebration of National Trails Day. Signups for that outing are currently full, though a waitlist is available. Additional outings are planned for Aug. 24 – a women’s-only day – and Oct. 5.
Outings will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tools, gloves, food and water will be provided. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and those under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Register for this weekend’s waitlist or the other two outings at CRgov.com/TrailsDay.
It’s important to note that the main parking lot at Gateway Mesa will be closed during these work days. Volunteer parking will be at Rock Ridge Elementary School, 400 N. Heritage Road. A free shuttle will be provided from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m.
Gateway Mesa – a 276-acre open space consisting of grassland mesa and mixed forest near Castle Rock’s eastern boundary – will remain open to hiking during the work days. Visitors wishing to hike Chuck’s Loop should access the trail using the Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail or the limited shuttle service from the school.
Volunteers for Colorado is a statewide organization that provides a volunteer workforce for outdoor stewardship projects including invasive species management, habitat restoration, recreational improvements, and trail construction and maintenance.
The American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that takes place annually on the first Saturday in June. The program is intended to inspire the public to discover, learn about and celebrate trails.
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