Trails 2000

Based in Durango, Colorado, Trails 2000 is a 501c3 organization that builds and maintains trails; educates trail users and encourages connectivity on road, path and trail.
Support our Work.

Now Hiring: Durango Trail Crew Lead

Are you interested in a unique opportunity to join a leading nonprofit organization in the outdoor industry? Do you want to live in a mountain town community, while making a significant positive impact on the lives of residents and visitors? Are you passionate about the outdoors and wish to combine your passion for trails and recreation with a career in the outdoor industry?

Durango Trails 2000 — local nonprofit trail organization in Durango, Colorado — is hiring for a full-time Trail Crew Lead. The ideal candidate will be a strong leader with expertise in the design, maintenance and development of system trails, including a knowledge of sustainable trail construction, group facilitation expertise, and strong project management skills. Working with and reporting to the Executive Director, the right person will also have a keen understanding of the importance of interacting with volunteers, the public and land managers and their role as an ambassador on and off the trail. Opportunities for professional development related to the job are available.


  • Oversees scheduling, planning and facilitation of construction and maintenance on trails
  • Supervises crews of students, volunteers and work groups in a safe working environment
  • Manages team of crew leaders, including training, scheduling and support
  • Develops relationships and collaborates with land managers
  • Tracks upcoming trail projects and schedules trailwork activities
  • Lays out and flags trails for re-routes and maintenance
  • Creates maps for future trail alignment proposals and trail maintenance areas
  • Assigns tasks and provides safety and training for crews
  • Oversees trail tools and truck maintenance

For full job description, click here.

If interested, please complete the online application below. A PDF resume is required when applying. Resumes must be submitted by Monday, February 26, with availability to work in Durango starting March 15. No phone calls, visits or mail please.

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BLM Meeting Weds. January 31

Join the BLM to share your trail ideas for consideration in the upcoming Tres Rios Field Office Open House taking place this Wednesday, January 31 from 5p to 7pm at the Durango Public Library  (1900 east Third Avenue).

Year End Campaign: Give Now. Get Outside Today.

As the leaves fall and snow returns to the high country, Trails 2000 reflects on a successful trail season thanks to members, volunteers and all who contributed to help build and maintain the vast, world-class trail network in Durango. We could not do what we do without YOU. Our members, volunteers and community supporters are critical to the work we do, and all types of support—from volunteering to financial contributions—make the work of Trails 2000 possible.

This year we accomplished more work than ever making the fundraising efforts ever more important. In 2017, Trails 2000 worked with over 600 community members during 6,000 hours of volunteer trailwork on 40-plus area trails with trail crew leaders and certified crew leaders to oversee volunteer teams. Notable milestones include:

  • SkySteps: Planned and build 550 steps connecting town to Fort Lewis College
  • New trails: Cap’s Connect, Sugar, Skyline and Smokejumper
  • Colorado Trail: Over 175 downed trees cut by our team of certi ed sawyers and removed o the trails
  • High Country Trails: Pass Trail, Engineer Mountain Trail, West Cross, Dry Fork, Haflin Creek, Stevens Creek and Missionary Ridge to name a few
  • Collaborated with dozens of organizations and business on trailwork
  • Completed trails master plan
  • TrailKids: Over 500 students served in the TrailKids ecology program
  • Organized a Stewardship conference for SW Colorado
  • Partnered on a grant for the Animas River Trail
  • Updated with new blogs, maps and trail conditions
  • Facilitated our annual Trails and Ales party and Trail Reporter training
  • Held our 2nd annual Happy Trails festival

Please join us as we continue our mission to plan, build and maintain trails, educate trail users, and encourage trail connectivity by contributing to our year end campaign to help create positive trail experiences for all users.

Great Trails Build Great Communities. Give Now. Get Outside Today.

Learn about other ways to give (Holiday Store and Colorado Gives), and subscribe to our FREE TrailTalk Enewsletter to stay in the know about all things trails.

New Trails to be Built in Durango

Approval received following in-depth analysis of Smokejumper’s Trail and Sugar to Skyline connect

Trails 2000 will build two new trails—the Smokejumper’s Trail and a connect from Sugar to Skyline Trails—in Durango during the late fall of 2017. In late September, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed off on the environmental analysis (EA) required for trail proposals on federal lands, marking the final step required to start building the new trails. Find out how you can help out at trailwork.

The Smokejumper’s Trail, which will start at the top of Skyline and run north from Raider Ridge, is in honor of Joseph Philpott who died in an avalanche in 2013. Philpott grew up in Durango and went on to major in Forestry at NAU and CSU. He worked for the BLM as a smokejumper based in Boise, Idaho. Joe was an adventurous, conscientious young man and his parents were interested in honoring him to capture his dynamic nature.

Joseph Philpott.

“When we came to Trails 2000, Mary [Monroe Brown, executive director] suggested that we work on a trail that would reflect Joe’s amazing life and personality with a trail from Raider Ridge north on the BLM land. When we walked it, it felt like Joe,” said Margo Philpott, Joe’s mother. “It has beautiful ridgetop views, it’s rugged and is part of a long traverse that he used to run and train on.”

In 2014, Trails 2000 completed the Sugar Trail, connecting Skyline to Horse Gulch Road. (The Skyline Trail was built by Trails 2000 in 2009 to connect the Skyridge area to Powerline and the top of Hyper Extended Ridge.) Trails 2000 hoped to connect Sugar directly to Skyline at that time, but a portion of the trail would need to cross BLM land.

Trails on federal lands (Forest Service and BLM) require a level of environmental analysis necessary for NEPA—the National Environmental Policy Act. Trails 2000 entered into the proposal process and hired local environmental consultant, Heidi McGrath, a good friend of Joe’s and the Philpott family, to help see it through to completion.

“EAs are a lot of work and require analyzing various environmental impacts, from wildlife and plants to soils and recreation. It’s a time consuming process and a bit arduous, especially for small nonprofits. In Durango, we are surrounded by 60 percent of public lands, and trail proposals like that of Trails 2000 are an important economic driver for our community,” said McGrath, owner of Columbine Environment based in Durango. She added, “I was excited to be involved in this project since I knew Joe and the Philpott family would love the trail.”

The analysis also included a cultural resource survey to assess any artifacts that may exist on the trail. The cultural study, of which no artifacts were identified, was donated by ERO Resources, an environmental consulting firm based in Denver with a satellite office in Durango. “Trails 2000 does so much for our community, and as a trail user who owns a company in town, I was happy to find a way to give back by donating the analysis,” said Sean Larmore, principle investigator of ERO Resources in Durango.

In general, the process of how a trail becomes a trail can take anywhere from two to five years to complete. It requires involvement from various land managers and stakeholders, many of whom are long-time partners of Trails 2000, and involves idea development and research, to proposal and review, and finally to approval and building. (The Trails 2000 infographic, How a Trails Becomes a Trail, helps to illustrate this in-depth process.)

“The process [of how a trail becomes a trail] is complex; it requires vision, strategy and a certain level of tenacity,” said Trails 2000 board member, Christina Rinderle. “You need an organization like Trails 2000 out in front, gathering feedback, and keeping in touch with the community so you can devise a plan and see it through to completion.”

Trails 2000 will start building the trails, October 30 through November 2 (9 am to 5pm each day), and seeks volunteers to help out at trailwork. Details can be found at Trails 2000 Online Calendar and RSVP on Facebook. Volunteers are invited to come for as long or little as they can, and no experience is necessary as Trails 2000 crews will be on site with all tools, instruction and safety, and water and snacks for volunteers. The Philpott family plans to install the commemorative sign for the Smokejumper’s Trail in November.

“We feel grateful and honored to be part of helping expand the Trails 2000 trail system. We feel like it’s a way to give back to our community, by helping create something lasting, as well as to remember and honor Joseph,” said Margo Philpott.

Subscribe to our FREE TrailTalk Enewsletter to stay in the know about all things trails.

For the Outdoor, Trail Enthusiast: Holiday Gifts that Keep on Giving

Features Three Letterpress Card Sets: Happy Holidays Happy Trails; Wishing You Happy Trails; and Happy Trails; and One Greeting Card Set with Southwest Photography.

Online store features unique, locally made products that support trails

Are you an outdoor enthusiast looking for the perfect holiday gift to give back this season? Trails 2000 is excited to launch our Online Holiday Store that gives locals and visitors a unique way to give chic, handmade, functional gifts while supporting their beloved trails and natural lands this holiday season.

Featuring high quality products and local designs, the store captures the essence of the area, including holiday cards with natural, mountain graphics printed locally on a handmade letterpress; photo cards showcasing the beautiful imagery of the Southwest; commemorative posters of iconic local trails such as the Colorado Trail; adult and youth tees and hats with favorite local trail slogan, Happy Trails; and more. Each product is reflective of Trails 2000’s mission to plan, build and maintain trails—which all proceeds go to support—and appeals to supporters both native to Colorado and across the U.S.

Features variety of Happy Trails vintage t-shirts (men, women and youth sizes); locally made Happy Trails trucker hat; and commemorative Durango Trails booklet.

“Whether you’re looking for beautiful letterpress holiday cards for friends and family, a poster to commemorate your hike on the Colorado Trail, or stylish Happy Trails logo tees for kids and adults alike, our online store is the place to make a feel-good purchase knowing your gift helps to build and maintain our trails and sustain a trail network for generations to come,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Trails 2000.

The easy-to-use online store is one way Trails 2000 aims to diversify funding. For the most part access to trails is free, but all trail construction, maintenance and planning has a cost. In Southwest Colorado, a widely visited tourist destination, locals have long ranked the abundance of trails as their number one want and need for living in and visiting the area, making Durango’s trails a highly used resource by both the community and tourists.

“Our new fundraising option celebrates our mission to plan, build and maintain trails by providing beautiful gifting options. All proceeds from the store go to support our mission, and we hope people will support us and visit our online store for their holiday gifts this season,” said Monroe Brown.

Products include:

  1. Commemorative, artsy and chic poster of Durango trails that features the iconic 500-mile statewide Colorado Trail, which commences in Durango.
  2. Top selling Happy Trails vintage t-shirts, which come in a variety of colors and styles, available in men, women and youth sizes.
  3. Locally made trucker hat featuring Happy Trails slogan.
  4. Commemorative booklet featuring images from Scott DW Smith and a brief history and voices from the trails in Durango.

Trails 2000 further diversifies funding and global reach by housing select products on global search engine giant, Amazon. According to recent data, up to 80 percent of online product searches take place on, which provides extensive global reach to the trail organization. You can also give to Trails 2000 through AmazonSmile, which donates a portion of Amazon purchases to the organization by encouraging consumers to shop through a unique link to make product purchases on Amazon at no additional cost to consumer.

Kids for ColoradoGives: Inspiring TrailKids to Give

New, kid-friendly website offers Durango’s youth a fun, safe way to experience the joy of giving

The Trails 2000 TrailKids program touches the lives of area youth each season through outdoor, hands-on lessons and trailwork aimed at inspiring curiosity, stewardship, and an appreciation for natural lands. Starting this month, Trails 2000 hopes to further connect with the next generation of givers through Kids for ColoradoGives, a new, fun and safe way for young donors to experience the joy of giving online.

Launched this year, Kids for ColoradoGives allows kids and their parents the opportunity to give to a nonprofit and help the community, while learning about philanthropy and having fun along the way. The site is a kid-friendly component of the popular website, a year-round giving site presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank that powers Colorado Gives Day and aims to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online giving. Trails 2000, who also participates in Colorado Gives, was excited about the opportunity to expand their fundraising efforts surrounding this annual, online-giving movement.

“Trails 2000 is always looking for ways to engage the next generation of lands stewards, and Kids for ColoradoGives aligns perfectly with our TrailKids program,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Trails 2000. “Gifts to our TrailKids program through Kids for ColoradoGives provide area youth a way to connect to our natural lands and feel like they’ve made a difference in our trails, open space, and Durango’s vast outdoor playground. We hope kids and their parents will join in the fun of giving this holiday season.”

To give to Trails 2000’s TrailKids program, children and their parents can visit Trails 2000’s Kids for ColoradoGives profile. The site is safe and easy to use, allowing donations to be made by Giving eCard only for the privacy and protection of children. Adults can purchase a Giving eCard for a child by visiting and click on “Giving eCards” on the site’s top navigation bar. After purchasing, kids and their parents can enjoy the giving experience together.

The website has fun incentives for kids as well, including a fun quiz for children to take to guide them in their charitable giving, and afterwards print out a hand-drawn, downloadable illustration to color and display. After donating, kids can download a digital badge that says, “I’m a Kid for ColoradoGives!”, along with parent badges that say, “My Kid’s a Kid for ColoradoGives!”

All donations made to Kids for ColoradoGives will support Trails 2000’s TrailKids program, which focuses on Durango-area middle school students and offers a variety of one hour, half-day, and full day programs for 6th-8th grade science classes. In partnership with Durango School District 9-R, the program tailors each course to Colorado Academic standards.

Thanks to sponsor Alpine Bank, in 2016 the TrailKids program reached over 1,000 local youth of all ages, including both school groups as well as the DEVO development program. Youth learned the importance of land stewardship by developing a sense of community ownership and studying topics such as the environment, geology, vegetation, and sustainability in an educational setting. Other TrailKids programs focused on additional trail stewardship topics, from the creation of trail signs to the geology of the surrounding area, or less tangible items such as an appreciation for the outdoors, share the trails ethics, and an understanding of what trails mean to the community. Students also engaged in experimental science labs related to school curriculum and conducted trailwork in various local trail systems.

According to Elizabeth “Ziggy” Lanman, former lead TrailKids educator, “It is such a thrill to share a passion for the outdoors with kids. There is nothing that I would love more than instilling a sense of love and appreciation to younger generations, and that’s something that outdoor, hands-on education can provide. Watching a kid discover how much fun it is to get dirty and really connect with the earth is so fulfilling—I think that this experience is necessary to get kids to fundamentally care about our planet. And trails are a necessary resource for that experience.”

To join the giving movement along with young generations, parents and adult supporters can access Trails 2000’s Colorado Gives profile. Donations can be made online in advance of Colorado Gives Day (Tuesday, December 5), and scheduled donations will be processed on December 5.

Learn more about the TrailKids program, and subscribe to our FREE TrailTalk Enewsletter to stay in the know about all things trails.

Fun at 2nd Annual Happy Trails Festival

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2nd annual Happy Trails Festival this past Saturday at Buckley Park to celebrate our trails and outdoor community! Special thanks to title sponsors, Ska Brewing and Zia Taqueria, and presenting sponsors, Mercy Regional Medical Center and Fort Lewis College, plus all participating organizations: Todd’s Durango Dirt Fondo, Durango Double, Durango Running Club, Durango Running Company, Hello Dollface, Robby Overfield, Durango DEVO, SCOTT Sports, Trek Bicycle, SRAM, Mountain Bike Specialists, 2nd Ave Sports, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Alpine Bank, Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, City of Durango, Four Corners Back Country Horsemen, and more! Thanks also to Lightning Communications and all our wonderful volunteers who made the event a success. Read the recap in The Durango Herald.

Kids Bike Race Video


Durango Dirt Fondo riders gear up at Happy Trails Festival.


Demo trucks were all set up at Buckley Park.


Todd Wells grills up Grassburger for Durango Dirt Fondo riders.

Volunteers Needed for Happy Trails Festival

Sign up today! – Volunteer and Receive Free Gift Card and Trail Swag

Happy Trails Festival is almost two weeks away, and we are looking for volunteers to help make the event a success! Please consider signing up to volunteer on Saturday, September 16, for one or more of the following volunteer shifts:

1) Set up, 8-11 a.m.
2) Check in, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
3) Check in, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
4) Clean up, 4:30-7 p.m.

Plus, volunteers receive a $25 gift card & Trails 2000 cowboy hat as our way of saying thanks.

Sign up today!

Happy Trails Festival is September 16

Happy Trails Festival to celebrate happy town and trails on September 16

Trails 2000 is pleased to host the second annual Happy Trails Festival on Saturday, September 16, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (add to GoogleCal, iCal/Outlook), at Buckley Park to celebrate a happy community full of happy trails. Special thanks to title sponsors, Zia Taqueria and Ska Brewing, and presenting sponsors, Mercy Regional Medical Center and Fort Lewis College, the fun-packed day features:

Live Music by Hello Dollface (2:30-4pm) and Robby Overfield & the Breaks (12:30-2:15pm)
Local Beer by Ska Brewing, and Great Food by Zia Taqueria and Grassburger
Kids Fun Area with Durango DEVO and Mercy Gray Matters Helmet program
Interactive Displays and Demos from Scott Bicycles, Trek Bicycle, SRAM, Mountain Bike Specialists, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Durango Running Company, Durango Running Club, Mercy Regional Medical Center, and Fort Lewis College
Trail Rides and Runs:

  • Todd’s Durango Dirt Fondo mountain bike ride, featuring 15 and 50 mile loops that begin and end at Buckley Park; proceeds from the ride benefit Trails 2000, and registration is now open.
    Durango Double training runs (5- and 10- mile) that will depart from Buckley Park at 10:30 a.m., led by Durango Running Club and Durango Running Company
  • Durango DEVO Junior ride from 12-1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online! Kids 16 and under are free.

Coined after a favorite tagline—Happy Trails!—of local nonprofit organization Trails 2000, the fall festival is a benefit for the group itself, which dedicates their mission to the planning, building, and maintaining of Durango’s trail network; educating trail users; and encouraging connectivity on road, path and trail. Durango boasts over 300 miles of trails within 30 minutes of downtown, making it a state and national trail destination for all user groups—whether hiker, biker, dog walker, trail runner, equestrian rider and more.

Volunteer or Set Up Booth at Happy Trails Festival

Trails 2000 is seeking volunteers to help make the festival a success; please consider signing up to volunteer today! Community organizations and nonprofits are also invited to set up a free informational booth at the Happy Trails Festival. If interested, organizations should email us.

A partnership worth celebrating

Building great trails requires a great community, and great partnerships between land agencies, community organizations, and the public are imperative. This connection resonates in Durango and entices celebrating the legacy of so many individuals and entities that have helped make the Durango brand one worth preserving.

Since 1989, Trails 2000’s key trail partners include the City of Durango, La Plata County, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, and private landowners. Trails 2000 relies on it cadre of volunteers to help build and maintain trails in and around Durango. Each year, Trails 2000 volunteers contribute over 4,000 hours of trailwork—totaling more than 165 days.

Partnering to Create a New Trail

Photo courtesy of Sean Larmore.

Trails 2000 is always planning to the future, an element of our annual strategic planning to provide our community with a world-class trail network. As we continue to look outward, Trails 2000 has short term and long term goals. When we look at trails and connectivity on federal lands, we are required to engage in some degree of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act). Trails 2000 is fortunate to partner with ERO Resources Corporation on the cultural assessment of a new trail we’ve been planning and developing for the past three years. Trails 2000 hired ERO to work on the environmental planning to help expedite the generally long process of analysis that takes place when working with federal land managers on new trail proposals.

“How does a trail become a trail?” you might ask…In general, the process can take anywhere from 2-5 years to complete and requires involvement from various land managers and stakeholders. From idea development and research, to proposal and review, and finally approval and building, it is no small undertaking. Trails 2000 relies on our long held partnerships to engage with us in completing the many trail projects we have on tap and are particularly grateful for the incredible dedication of ERO Resources to our community and our trails. Please read more from Sean Larmore, cultural resources manager and principal of ERO:

[Trails 2000] Please tell us about ERO environmental consulting firm.
[Sean Larmore] We are a 60 person firm based in Denver with a satellite office in Durango, providing environmental impact assessments and cultural and natural resources compliance. We specialize in water infrastructure, electrical transmission, and transportation-related projects, among other sectors.

ERO conducts past cultural resource survey. Photo courtesy of Sean Larmore.

[T2000] Tell us about your reasoning/motivation for partnering with Trails 2000 on the new trail project.
[Larmore] It’s a great community based initiative and since most of us ride bikes, it’s a natural fit.

[T2000] What do you most look forward to in our trail partnership?
[Larmore] Seeing the project to completion and being able to enjoy the new trails.

[T2000] How do ERO’s expertise and values align with Trails 2000?
[Larmore] We’re in the environmental consulting business because we believe in sustainability; if an environmental nonprofit needs support, we’re happy to assist.

[T2000] Please tell us about your use of the trails.
[Larmore] Most of our staff run, hike and bike whenever we get the chance.

[T2000] Tell us about your trailwork experience!
[Larmore] We’ve done trailwork support in the past, including surveying many of the trails in the Weminuche for cultural resources prior to rehabilitation work (for the San Juan National Forest).

ERO conducts past cultural resource survey. Photo courtesy of Sean Larmore.

[T2000] What do trails mean to you? [Larmore] Two words, community value.
[T2000] What do you most value about the trails? [Larmore] A convenient way to get outside for a quick fix.
[T2000] What is your favorite trail and why? [Larmore] I’ve always enjoyed the Colorado Trail along Indian Ridge in the La Platas.

[T2000] Great answers! Ok, now it is time for our favorite part: The Trails 2000 speed round:
Pulaski or McLeod? [Larmore] Pulaski since I used them during wildland fire work.
Run, hike, bike or ride (horses)? [Larmore] Hike.
Tea or coffee? [Larmore] Coffee.

Thanks Sean and ERO; we appreciate your time and look forward to working with ERO to make last impacts in our community!

Project Sky Steps Grand Opening, June 27

Photo: Grady James.

Town to sky stairway opens on Nature Trail, connecting Durango to Fort Lewis College

You’re invited to join Trails 2000 for the official grand opening of Project Sky Steps on Tuesday, June 27, at 5:00 p.m. (add to GoogleCal, iCal/Outlook). Partnering with the City of Durango and Fort Lewis College, Trails 2000 and its cadre of volunteers completed the stairway, which creates a town connect from Durango to the Fort Lewis College campus, home of the Skyhawks. The stairway extends the Nature Trail steps and now includes over 500 steps and gains over 250 feet in elevation.

Attendees of the grand opening should arrive promptly at 5:00 p.m. at the bottom of the Nature Trail for an official ribbon cutting, followed by a hike up the stairs, surprise entertainment along the way, and finish at the top with snacks and cold beverages, courtesy of Trails 2000.

“We are excited to officially open the Sky Steps which provide access to a wonderful walking route, commute to the college, and training stairway right in town,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Trails 2000. “Providing connections around town are essential for a thriving community, and the vision of Trails 2000’s Sky Steps creates this necessary and wonderful link in Durango.”

The project officially kicked off in April 2017 and was built entirely by Trails 2000 volunteers and crews. Several local organizations and businesses volunteered with Trails 2000 to sponsor trailwork days.

According to Trails 2000 Trail Crew Lead Emma Millar, “We are so thankful for the fantastic support from the community and our local partners, in particular the City and Fort Lewis College. Their help was imperative to the success of the project, and it was great to work together to complete the project: a true community effort.”

Durango’s Sky Steps are amongst various urban stairs that have been long recognized as fitness and tourist destinations, including the Manitou Incline near Colorado Springs, known as one of the most popular and challenging hikes in the area, and the iconic Santa Monica Stairs in Los Angeles.

Join us for the Grand Opening of Sky Steps!

Welcome Christina Rinderle to Board of Directors

Trails 2000 is pleased to announce Christina Rinderle has joined the Trails 2000 board of directors. Christina is a long-time Durango resident and most recently served eight years on the City Council and two terms as mayor. Currently, she wears many hats, including co-owner of Durango Land and Homes Real Estate Brokerage, investor in La Plata Economic Development Alliance, among other roles. When she’s not hard at work making a difference in our community, she can be found exploring the trails in Horse Gulch – be it running, biking or hiking – and elsewhere across the Southwest.

Christina currently serves on the board with Daryl Crites, John Baxter and Steve Schwartz, along with Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown to assist with the strategic vision and goals of Trails 2000.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Christina and hear about her experiences, passion for our trails, the organization and Durango, and her excitement in joining the Trails 2000 Board of Directors. Read on:

Horse Gulch.

[Trails 2000] Thanks for sitting down with us today, Christina! Tell us a little about yourself.
​[Christina Rinderle] Thank you for having me! I grew up in Indiana, but always had a love for the west. I first visited Durango in the summer of 1998 ​with a group of friends and this town, the people, and the trails captured my heart. A year later I was able to call Durango home and have loved the experiences and adventures along the way.

[T2000] Wonderful! Tell us about your professional interests, including your time on the City Council, and other professional interests?
[Rinderle] ​​Serving on City Council, coupled with two terms as mayor, has been my biggest honor. I first took office during the recession, and we were able to leverage our dedicated parks, open space, and trails sales tax to acquire ​additional land parcels, allowing for enhanced trail connectivity for our enjoyment now and for future generations. As the co-owner of Durango Land and Homes Real Estate Brokerage, I have the opportunity to work with locals and those visiting our community to connect them with their future home or office space. Trail connectivity clearly enhances not just property values, but also quality of life, and I love to incorporate trail time into a property tour whenever possible.

[T2000] That is a must! Trails are a huge economic driver in Durango, often cited as a top reason to move to and visit Durango. Can you talk a little bit about your experience regarding economic development and trails?
[Rinderle] One of the many facets that makes Durango unique is the access to over 30 miles of trails just 30 minutes or less from the heart of our vibrant downtown, many right outside our back door. Our trails provide a broad and diverse economic impact through tourism, special events, community improvements, healthy lifestyles, property values, general consumer spending, and local jobs and investments. Having served for years on the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, I’ve seen first hand how our numerous trail access points and connectivity have had a direct benefit to our local economy. These benefits include an enhanced quality of life with strong desire for businesses to grow and relocate here, overall community enhancement, and increases in home valuation based on proximity to trails. Studies have shown the economic impact also extends beyond job creation and enhanced valuations to include health care savings where access to trails make it easy for those to get outside and walk, run, and bike, and help create a place for all ages to enjoy, from Seniors Outdoors to our TrailKids programs, creating the next generation of stewards for our trail systems.

[T2000] Very well said, Christina! Well, let us be the first to say: Welcome to the Board of Directors. We are thrilled to have you! Please share with us your reasoning/motivation for joining Trails 2000.​
[Rinderle] ​Thank you! ​After my terms on City Council came to an end, I wanted to still find a way to be involved and give back to the community. Trail enjoyment spans generations and offers something for all ages.

[T2000] Please tell us about your trail use, and what you most value about the trails.
[Rinderle] ​Trails allow us the opportunity to decompress and reconnect with our natural surroundings, whether it be in sometimes needed solitude or a perfect opportunity to create memories with friends. My morning routine often starts with a run in Horse Gulch, and then sets the tone for a positive day ahead. I love the connectivity and easy access. 

[T2000] Absolutely, us too! What is your favorite trail and why?
[Rinderle] ​​My favorite trails are those in Horse Gulch as they are the ones I am able to enjoy the most, due to proximity to my home and office. It still amazes me that within five minutes, we can go from the heart of downtown to over 1,000 acres of open space and soak in the natural surroundings.

[T2000] We sure are lucky! If you could offer advice to future generations of trail users, what would it be?
[Rinderle] ​Get involved! ​​It can be easy to take for granted the incredible resource we have in this community, but it doesn’t happen without community support, donors, and those who can roll up their sleeves and help create and maintain our collective assets.

[T2000] Thanks Christina, that is very well said. Ok, now for the speed round—ready, set:
Run, hike, bike or ride? [Rinderle]​ Running, biking, and hiking, in that order of preference.
Tea or coffee?​ [Rinderle]​ Both, but decaf versions. You don’t want to see me caffeinated!

[T2000] Thank you, Christina! We really appreciate you taking the time and helping us to get to know you and hear about your experiences. Happy Trails!

Sign Up to Get Connected on Bike to Work Day

Trails 2000 is pleased to join the City of Durango for the 8th annual Clean Commute Week which celebrates walking, rolling, biking, riding the bus and carpooling around Durango. The week features many events including Bike to Work Day on Wednesday, June 28, at Durango Coffee Co. and Mercy Regional Medical Center, 7:00 to 9:00 am. Get Connected! This year, Trails 2000 will lead trail commute teams to Mercy and the Tech Center; the route will be on mostly trail, and riders should sign up below and meet on the Animas River Trail on the 9th Street bridge at 7:30 a.m. Please note: If you’d like to be picked up somewhere else, please request this in the comments below.

Sign Up

To sign up for the trail commute teams, please submit the form below. Thank you!

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Phone Number (required)

Emergency Contact Name (required)

Emergency Contact Number(required)

Will you ride with us to Mercy or the Tech Center?
MercyTech Center

Comments: If you'd like to be picked up somewhere else, or have other important info. please share it here.

Now Hiring: Durango Trails 2000 TrailKids Educator

Are you interested in a unique opportunity to join a leading nonprofit organization in the outdoor industry? Do you want to make a significant positive impact on the community? Are you passionate about the outdoors and education?

Durango Trails 2000 — local nonprofit trails organization in Durango, Colorado — is hiring for a seasonal contract TrailKids Educator. The ideal candidate will have experience writing curriculum, working in outdoor education and teaching students and youth, as well as a desire to conduct meaningful and impactful work. Working with and reporting to the Executive Director, the right person will also be able to work independently and have a keen understanding of the importance of interacting with students, teachers and the community and their role as an ambassador on and off the trail.

This paid, part-time seasonal, career-building role will include up to 20 weeks of as needed, non-congruent work and is ideal for an individual with a flexible schedule. As TrailKids Educator, the qualified candidate will have an outstanding opportunity to further develop skills in outdoor and science education, while learning from professionals in the field and gaining networking contacts — all while living and working in and around Durango.

Role provides the opportunity to:

  • Work for and represent a leading nonprofit doing meaningful work in a beautiful area
  • Develop individualized education goals that relate to your career objectives
  • Gain supervisory experience working with students, teachers and other groups
  • Coordinate hands-on science and outdoor education
  • Inspire curiosity, stewardship, and an appreciation for natural lands in area youth

Required knowledge and abilities:

  • Degree in Science or Outdoor Education
  • Ability to engage with middle and high school students and teachers
  • Ability to plan for a flexible, non-congruent schedule based on teaching opportunities
  • Highly motivated personality
  • Excellent public speaking skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to work independently as needed
  • Strong sense of importance of representing a nonprofit in the community
  • Proficient in Word, Powerpoint, Dropbox
  • Valid Driver’s License

For full job description, click here.

If interested, please complete online application below. A PDF resume is required when applying. Resumes must be submitted by June 15, 2017. No phone calls, visits or mail please. Thank you.

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Carver Brewing On Why Support Trails

Photo: ​Mike Hurst (center) with Travis Brown and Ned Overend at the top of Sugar Trail during Todd & Ned’s Dirt Fondo​.

Trails 2000 will soon celebrate with the Durango community during the Trails and Ales Party at Carver Brewing Company on Wednesday, April 26. The annual event has been hosted by Carvers (on Facebook) for many, many years; but, the Trails 2000-Carvers’ partnership goes back even further. Starting in the late 80s when Trails 2000 was first established as the region’s independent, nonprofit trail group, it was only a few months later that “Carvers” would start brewing beer to become “Carver Brewing,” the southwest’s original craft brew pub. Even back then, the young partnership came almost naturally, as like-minded individuals found sanctuary on Durango’s miles of trail and in Carver’s welcoming, nourishing restaurant and brewery; today, the duo remains.

While Carver’s supports trails year round, Trails and Ales is a prime example of Carvers’ support of Trails 2000, as they not only generously provide the outdoor patio venue for the event, but also offer a beer, wine or root beer, delicious spread of vegetarian or beef chili, and salad to any attendee who joins, renews, or gives a minimum of $20 to Trails 2000. This year, the first 40 attendees to donate also receive a Carver’s t-shirt or souvenir beer glass, as an added bonus. Unable to attend the event? Carvers is even offering a special gift to anyone who joins Trails 2000 during the month of April.

We just had to find out more about Carver’s motivation for supporting Trails 2000 and their sheer excitement for trails, so we sat down with Carver Brewing’s Owner Mike Hurst. Hurst is an avid trail supporter and user, whether he is out on the trails biking or hiking with family, friends and fellow trail fiends. Read on for more on why Carvers supports Trails 2000 and why you should too:

Photo: Mike Hurst and family on Animas Mountain.

[Trails 2000] Hi Mike! Thanks for joining us. Tell us about the motivation/reasoning at Carver Brewing for supporting Trails 2000 and the trails in Durango.
[Mike Hurst] My favorite Trails 2000 quote says: “Great Communities Build Great Trails, and Great Trails Build Great Communities.”
[T2000] Hey! That’s one of our favorites, too. And, “Happy Trails,” of course. Ok, go on.
[Hurst] Well, at Carvers we see it first hand when an employee is all jazzed about his/her first time mountain biking down Star Wars, or when backpackers come in fresh off the Colorado Trail with giant smiles on their faces as they order a beer and one of our big, juicy burgers. Trails make people happy.

[T2000] They sure do. So does good food and great beer! Pair the three together, and boy, what a trio you’ve got. What do you think makes this combo work so well?
[Hurst] Since the beginning, the people that have made up Trails 2000 and Carvers have been like-minded neighbors and friends with a love for our great outdoors. Trails 2000’s founding Executive Director Bill Manning was one of our favorite regulars at Carvers. Still today, we get treated to regular visits by Trails 2000 staff and volunteers.

[T2000] Wow. That’s over 25 years of ‘friendship’ right there. In your opinion, how do Carvers’ values align with Trails 2000?
[Hurst] At Carvers, our mission is to have our guests feel welcome, “at home” and taken care of while with us and to leave refreshed in body and spirit. Getting out on the trail is a similar experience where you get to return home refreshed in body and spirit—only a bit dirtier and sometimes scraped up!

[T2000] Don’t we know it! Now on to the main event: the Trails and Ales Party, coming up on Wednesday, April 26! As the long-time host, what do you most look forward to at this year’s event?
[Hurst] That’s an easy one: getting together with friends and getting to buy them a beer!

Photo: Mike Hurst during XC mountain bike race, spring 2017.

[T2000] Cheers to that—It is always a great event and we are grateful for all Carvers does to make it possible! Now, tell us a bit about your use of the trails.
[Hurst] Man, there’s a ton of options! Taking the family for a hike through Dalla Mountain Park (with plenty of playing on the bouldering problems), pinning it up Telegraph on the XC bike, snowbiking through Hidden Valley (which makes for a scenic work commute too), high-country wildflower missions from Molas Pass to town on the CT…I just need to try horseback riding I suppose.


[T2000] Yes, sounds like it. Why do you personally support trails?
[Hurst] I’m a self-professed beer drinker with a cycling problem. Durango provides the perfect training ground for athletes (and beer drinkers). The caliber of runners, cyclists and other professional athletes that utilize these trails is world class—probably the best in the country. What’s even more motivating is seeing these same athletes out there working on trails and supporting Trails 2000.

[T2000] Absolutely. What do you most value about the trails?
[Hurst] The freedom you feel when the tires/shoes/boots/hooves hit the dirt. And you don’t even have to get in your vehicle to get there. You just walk out the door and there’s singletrack for miles and miles, beckoning you to leave your worries and distractions behind and simply enjoy the outdoors. 

[T2000] Beautifully said, Mike. Tell us about your trailwork experience! Why is it important for you to give back on the trails?
[Hurst] I still have a goal of getting my chainsaw certification but until that happens, I’m relegated to infrequent trailing clearings and waterbar work. It can be easy to feel guilty when you leave work, family and all your “to-do’s” behind to get out on a trail. When you give back on the trails you at least don’t have to feel guilty for reaping the benefits of all that hard work done by trail crews and Trails 2000! That and who doesn’t love playing in the dirt?

[T2000] We sure do! What do trails mean to you?
[Hurst] Wilderness therapy has to be one of the healthiest, most effective ways to work through life’s challenges. Getting outdoors is a chance to hit the reset button. Trails offer the easiest access to this. All you need is a pair of shoes, really.

Photo: Hurst children on the Animas River Trail.

[T2000] And, what is your favorite trail and why?
[Hurst] Animas Mountain: whenever you’ve got a small window of free time you can hit Animas, get your heart rate up and before you know it you’ve topped out and the entire Animas Valley, Missionary Ridge, Needles and La Plata ranges have opened up before you. The downhill’s also quite a thrill.

[T2000] If you could offer advice to trail users or future generations, what would it be?
[Hurst] Don’t ever take trails for granted. Keep in mind they’re shared by diverse user groups. If we all work together to maintain and advocate for our trails they can be around for future generations. Oh, and try beer as a recovery drink—I recommend Saison for a post-trail treat (Carver’s handcrafted root beer is a good option for the kiddos and non-drinkers).

[T2000] Ok, now for our favorite part: the Trails 20000 speed round. Ready, set:
Pulaski or McLeod? 
[Hurst] Pulaski—great for getting through those roots!
Run, hike, bike or ride (or horses)? [Hurst] Biking, then running and hiking.
Tea or coffee (or beer!)? [Hurst] Coffee->Ride Bikes->Beer->(repeat)…

[T2000] Wow, thanks so much, Mike. Anything else you would like us to know about you, or specific to your support of Trails 2000?
[Hurst] I’ve always felt like this community and particularly, Carvers and Trails 2000, have taken me under their wing and taught me some major life lessons. Ever since the beginning the Carver brothers, Bill Manning, Trails 2000’s current Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown, and lots of Trails 2000 stakeholders like Ed and Patti Zink have shown the importance of finding common ground amongst different groups to work together and achieve a common goal—like building and maintaining trails. A town the size of Durango wouldn’t have its outdoor culture and amenities without people wearing multiple hats and giving back time and time again. It’s both humbling and inspiring. At Fort Lewis College’s Community Cycling celebration, Olympic Mountain Biker Todd Wells might’ve put it best: “The really cool thing about Durango is all of you make this seem normal.”

Happy Trails!

Annual Trails & Ales Party is April 26

Trails 2000 is pleased to invite all new and renewing members, donors, community members, and trail enthusiasts alike to the annual Trails and Ales Party on Wednesday, April 26, at Carver Brewing Company. Presented by local sponsor First National Bank, the event features a silent auction, chili and salad, and a beer, glass of wine or root beer from Carvers, along with Rocky Mountain chocolates, to anyone who joins, renews or gives to Trails 2000 at the event; the first 40 attendees to donate also receive a Carver’s t-shirt or souvenir beer glass. The brand new film, “Sharing Trails: Durango, Colorado,” will also be aired during the event; the film highlights Durango, Trails 2000 and the world-class trail system, produced by Coldstream Creative.

Trails 2000 Trails and Ales Party

When: Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 4:30-7:30 p.m. (add to GoogleCal, iCal/Outlook)
Where: Carver Brewing Company, 1022 Main Ave, Durango
What: Come join, renew or donate to Trails 2000, and enjoy a beer, wine or root beer, delicious spread of vegetarian or beef chili, and salad from Carvers to any attendee who joins, renews, or gives a minimum of $20 to Trails 2000. Meet and mingle with trail enthusiasts and Trails 2000 members, staff and board. A silent auction will also be held, and viewing of the new film “Sharing Trails: Durango, Colorado.”

Information about Trails 2000’s Project Sky Steps will be available, which takes place during April and May to create a town to sky connect of the Nature Trail steps to Fort Lewis College. Trails 2000 also hosts volunteer trailwork each Wednesday and other scheduled days throughout the trail season.

Hope to see you there!

Project Sky Steps: Creating a Town to Sky Connect

Project to connect Nature Trail steps from Durango to Fort Lewis College Skyhawks campus

Trails 2000 is pleased to announce the upcoming project to create a town to sky stairway connect in Durango. Project Sky Steps will connect the town of Durango to the Fort Lewis College campus, home of the Skyhawks, by extending the Nature Trail steps. Once complete, the connect will include over 500 steps and gain over 250 feet in elevation, providing a wonderful walking route, commute to the college, and training stairway for runners and those looking for a workout.

Trails 2000 worked with the City of Durango and Fort Lewis College to organize the project. Several local organizations—including Russell Planning and Engineering, CrossFit Durango and CrossFit Catacombs—will volunteer with Trails 2000 to sponsor trailwork days. Work kicked off in April, and continues with various work days scheduled throughout April and May; the public is invited and encouraged to come out to volunteer at work days!

Project Sky Steps Trailwork Days

Trailwork is now concluded on Project Sky Steps, please join us for the Grand Opening on Tuesday, June 27.

*Time: 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. each day
Location: Meet at the 8th Avenue switchback of the Nature Trail. Parking is limited to the neighborhoods below the Nature Trail, specifically on the corner of 6th Avenue and 10th Street; parking is not permitted at the college or on 8th Ave.
What to wear/bring: 
Volunteers should wear closed toe shoes or boots, long pants, shirt, sun hat, sunscreen, and bring a water bottle and rain jacket (optional). Trails 2000 will provide all tools, instruction, water and snacks.

Questions? Please contact usWe look forward to seeing you at Project Sky Steps trailwork!

Join Ska Brewing In Supporting Trails 2000

Photo: Dave Thibodeau.

It is almost a no brainer when two of Durango’s favorites are paired together: Trails and beer. In Colorado, the trail-to-brew pub phenomenon is nothing new, but we think it is even more deserving of the spotlight in the Southwest, with over 300 miles of trails within 30 minutes of downtown Durango and six local breweries to choose from. One such popular watering hole is Ska Brewing (visit Ska on Facebook), long-time supporters of Trails 2000 and dedicated users of the trails our community hold so dear.

In partnership with Ska, Trails 2000 is pleased to launch our Trail Partnership Program for 2017. The program aims to help us reach our lofty goal to increase membership this spring. To celebrate the program kick off, Ska Brewing wants folks to join Trails 2000 and is even offering a special gift to anyone who joins during the month of March.

To find out more about Ska’s support of Trails 2000 and their sheer excitement for trails, we sat down with Ska Co-Founder and President, Dave Thibodeau, and “Barroom Hero” aka Sales Manager, Arlo Grammatica. According to Dave and Arlo, they are always on the trails—Dave rides, runs and drinks, alone—see below—where as Arlo is a devoted mountain biker, open to ride with whomever. (Note: Arlo was unable to provide photos of himself on the trails, so despite Dave’s primarily solo trail and drinking adventures, he takes the image gallery spotlight here). Read on for a glimpse of “Ska on the Trail:”

Photo: Dave Thibodeau.

[Trails 2000] Hey Ska! Thanks for joining us today and of course, for offering a free beer to any one who joins Trails 2000 in March—we value and appreciate your continuous support of Trails 2000. Please tell us about Ska Brewing’s motivation for supporting Trails 2000 and the trails in Durango.
[Dave and Arlo] We support the trails in Durango for one main reason, we use them—they literally form the backbone of our wellness program at Ska. We regularly incorporate them into our work day. As we’ve grown, the amount of meetings that we have has also grown, and we’ll tell you that our “meetings” are a lot more productive when they take place on the trails. Trails 2000 is such a big part of our community—the different users, whether horse, hike, bike, or run, really rally around each other and pitch in. At Ska, we believe it’s our responsibility to support that which helps make our community a better place.

[T2000] Absolutely! What about you personally—why do you value and support trails?
[Dave/Arlo] We mountain bike on the trails many times a week and nothing starts a morning off better than a mountain bike ride. It keeps us fit and clear-headed in an industry where a cloudy head is not uncommon.

[T2000] Hey, no judgement here. We do think beer and trails have a long-standing connection, especially in Durango. What do you think makes this duo oh so sweet?
[Dave/Arlo] It’s all about balance, right? Time with friends. Exercise. Reward. Release. Of course, I (Dave) like to run the trails alone, and then drink beer alone—don’t be like me.

[T2000] Again, no judgement. Tell us about your use of the trails.
[Dave/Arlo] We’re both year-round trail users, and Trails 2000 does an amazing job making that possible, particularly keeping us updated on conditions and closings. Our distinct four seasons make that quite a challenge, and we couldn’t be more appreciative. In all honesty, it’s a big part of why we live here.

Photo: Dave Thibodeau.

[T2000] That is true for you and so many others in Durango—of course the beer culture also deserves some of the credit for why we choose to live in Durango! Can you tell us about your trailwork experience—why is it important for you to give back on the trails?
[Dave/Arlo] As lame as it sounds, time is one of our scarcest resources, so we choose to support Trails 2000 and the other trail volunteers through donation of space at the brewery, money, beer, etc. That said, we do pay all of our employees to volunteer at area nonprofits a few days a year, and we know that trailwork is often on the request list.

[T2000] What a cool perk! What do trails mean to you?
[Dave/Arlo] The trails mean so much to us. It is a unique situation to live and work in a town with world-class trails minutes away. Most people have to drive hours to do what we can do out the front door.

[T2000] Don’t we know it! What do you most value about the trails?
[Dave/Arlo] Accessibility and variety.

[T2000] What is your favorite trail and why?
[Dave/Arlo] Hard to choose, but our lunch loop and most frequent “meeting” spot is Sale Barn>Big Canyon.

[T2000] Great choice! If you could offer advice to trail users or future generations, what would it be?
[Dave/Arlo] Protect, respect, conserve, enjoy, have a beer at the end.

Photo: Dave Thibodeau.

[T2000] Cheers to that! Now for our favorite part: The Trails 2000 speed round. Ready, set:
Pulaski or McLeod? [Dave/Arlo] Gotta go with the Pulaski, such an important tool that Ed Pulaski’s original is actually part of the Smithsonian collection.
Run, hike, bike or ride (horses)? [Dave/Arlo] Tie, run=bike.
Tea or coffee (or beer!)? [Dave/Arlo] Tough one…NOT. Beer.

[T2000] Coulda called that one! Thanks so much Dave and Arlo, and the entire Ska crew, for all you do to support our organization and the trails in Durango. Anything else you would like us to know before we go?
[Dave/Arlo] We are so proud of a community that puts outdoor activities in the forefront. I (Arlo) am open to ride with anyone—Dave’s rides alone.

Be like Ska – Join Trails 2000 today. Cheers!

Welcome Steve Schwartz as Board Treasurer

Trails 2000 is pleased to announce the joining of Steve Schwartz as treasurer on the board of directors. Steve is a long-time Durango resident and currently works as vice president for Finance and Administration at Fort Lewis College (FLC), where he has been employed for 20 years. When he’s not hard at work for FLC, he can be found exploring the trails in and around Durango – be it hiking, mountain biking or snowshoeing.

Steve currently serves on the board with Daryl Crites, board president; John Baxter, board secretary; and Melissa Youssef; along with Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown to assist with the strategic vision and goals of Trails 2000.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Steve and hear about his experiences, passion for our trails and organization, and excitement in joining our Board of Directors. Read on:

Steve Schwartz and dog Maggie.

[Trails 2000] Steve! Thank you for sitting down with us today. Please tell us a little about yourself.
[Steve Schwartz] I was born in the Chicago suburb of Elgin, Illinois, and while I spent the greater part of my young adult life in Chicago, I eventually moved to the whitewater mecca of western North Carolina, where I discovered mountain biking and rock climbing. A few years later, a mountain biking adventure to Moab presented itself, including some time in Durango, where I visited – and became determined to attend – Fort Lewis College. While attending Fort Lewis, I became equally determined to make Durango my home. After graduating, I left Durango to pursue additional education; fast forward five years, and I was back at the Fort as an employee, where I have remained for the last 20 years.

[T2000] That is quite the adventure to calling home Durango. Please tell us more about your role at Fort Lewis and other professional interests?
[Schwartz] I’ve held a number of positions at Fort Lewis College, including director of Institutional Research, budget director, and for the last 15 years, vice president for Finance and Administration.  Other professional interest include involvement in community and statewide boards and advisory groups, primarily focused on the areas of education and/or finance.

[T2000] Well, let us be the first to say: Welcome to the Trails 2000 Board of Directors. We are thrilled to have you! Please share with us your reasoning/motivation for joining Trails 2000.
[Schwartz] It is my desire to be part of an organization that caters to the entire community, and I value and admire what Trails 2000 does in promoting access, trail etiquette and safety. The trails in and around Durango are an irreplaceable asset to our community and region, as they afford us entry into the spectacular beauty that is Durango, whether in town or in the high country. As the organization that plans, builds, and maintains these connections, Trails 2000 ensures access for all of us who value a healthy lifestyle.

Steve Schwartz

[T2000] Absolutely! And, what do you most look forward to as treasurer of Trails 2000 board?
[Schwartz] As the treasurer of the board, I strive to both help maintain and strengthen the financial viability of the organization. I also hope to help in expanding the trail network and increasing connectivity.

[T2000] Please tell us about your use of the trails.
[Schwartz] I love being out on our trails! Whether hiking, mountain biking or snowshoeing, whether alone or with a group, the trails are where I go to recreate.

[T2000] Good answer! What do you value most about trails.
[Schwartz] Too often, we take for granted the remarkable trails we have in and around Durango, and fail to recognize how truly fortunate we are to have such a community and regional benefit. It takes vision, immense effort, and dedication to plan, build and maintain our trail network. My hope is to help educate people regarding this asset and, thereby, grow our trail users and advocates.

[T2000] Can you tell us about your trailwork experience?
[Schwartz] My trail work experience includes maintenance tasks on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina many years ago. My involvement in that work gave me a great appreciation for the efforts of the dedicated Trails 2000 volunteers.

[T2000] That is great; we do have a stellar group of volunteers at Trails 2000, and are always looking for more! Ok, time for a tough question. What is your favorite trail and why?

Steve Schwartz

[Schwartz] It’s very difficult to pick a favorite trail, as there are so many from which to choose. Perhaps it would be best to say that my favorite trail is the last one I experienced. That said, I always enjoy Log Chutes, as it contains a little bit of everything!

[T2000] Absolutely. If you could offer advice to future generations of trail users, what would it be?
[Schwartz] Enjoy the trails, be respectful, and try to always remember how fortunate we all are to live in this special place and have the means to access it.

[T2000] Thanks Steve, that is very well said. Ok, now for a quick speed round—ready, set:
Tea or coffee? [Schwartz] Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening.

[T2000] Thank you, Steve! We really appreciate you taking the time and helping us to get to know you and hear about your experiences. We are thrilled to have you. Happy Trails!

Meet Trail Crew Lead: Emma Millar

Trails 2000 is gearing up for an exciting 2017 trail season, and Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown is pleased to introduce Emma Millar as the trail crew lead. With over ten years of professional trail building experience—from owning a private business to working with the US Forest Service—Emma brings a stellar skill set and addictive enthusiasm to our organization and is already committed to our mission to plan, build and maintain trails, educate users and encourage connectivity on road, path and trail.

With Emma now a member of the team, we couldn’t wait to sit down with her and learn what she is most excited about as the trail crew lead. And boy, is she ever excited! In her first month, Emma has already been hot on the trail—cruising down favorite trails with nostalgia for her college days at Fort Lewis College, trekking on new trails to take in cool features like grade dips and curvilinear design (like a true trail nerd!), and of course, gearing up for upcoming Trails 2000 events such as the Open House and Trail Reporter Program Training, both held March 1 at Ska Brewing. Once we finally tracked her down (on Star Wars, of course), here is what she had to tell us about her trail expertise and passion for working with volunteers and the community on Durango’s trails. Read on: 

Photo: Emma Millar.

[Trails 2000] Emma! Welcome to the team. We are thrilled to have you as trail crew lead. Tell us a little about yourself.
[Emma Millar] Well, I’m originally from Sandpoint, Idaho, and first moved to Durango in 2007 to attend Fort Lewis College (it was really to ride bikes though). I visited a few colleges, but Durango really stuck out because of the easy access to awesome trails—I could ride world-class trails from my dorm room! For a kid without a car, that was pretty vital. After college, I moved to Vermont for a few years, but now I’m back living in Mancos.

[T2000] Aren’t we lucky in Durango, with over 300 miles of trails in our backyard! So you’ve always been drawn to trails—tell us about your professional trail career thus far.
[Millar] I started working on trails while I was in high school; my mom’s best friend was a forester and helped to get me a job with the Forest Service. Little did they know I was going to turn trailwork into a career! I continued working for the Forest Service in Bayfield while I attended Fort Lewis, and after college, I moved to Vermont, where I became a partner in a private trail design and construction company. Even though I loved the work, I needed to move closer to the desert and the mountains. Last summer, I left the Northeast and came back to Colorado.

[T2000] Welcome home! What was your motivation for joining Trails 2000? What do you hope to bring to your role?
[Millar] Well, I am absolutely thrilled to be here! I wanted to work with Trails 2000 for entirely selfish reasons—I love trailwork and I love working with volunteers. I wanted to be a part of such a forward-thinking organization. The mission also reflects my values; building and maintaining trails, and education are all important to me, but the connectivity part is what really resonated. I think the most important goal of trailwork is connecting people to the landscape and to each other.

Photo: Emma Millar.

[T2000] That is spot on in our book. So, what do you most look forward to with Trails 2000, and what do you hope to contribute to the trails in Durango?
[Millar] I’m so excited to start working on the trails! I hope to bring a bunch of enthusiasm to volunteer days and to inspire everyone to get out on the trails and to become trail stewards in addition to trail users. I want all trail users to feel like Trails 2000 is there for them and is listening to their concerns. So don’t hesitate to contact me and tell me what you want!

[T2000] Got trail ideas? Send ’em to or come meet her at our Open House! Emma, can you tell us about your personal use of the trails?
[Millar] Mostly I hike and mountain bike. Honestly though, when I get on a new trail, I spend most of my time checking out design and construction techniques. It’s very distracting and you definitely should avoid hiking or riding behind me.

[T2000] Noted! What do you most value about the trails?
[Millar] Trails mean a lot to me—I’ve built my whole career on the power of trails to connect people to the landscape and to each other. There’s an understanding in trail design and construction that if we do our jobs right, the trail user will never even notice. Few people will really see a crib wall, or a grade dip, or notice the nice curvilinear design, and I love seeing people walk or ride right over my work without even realizing that any work was involved.

Photo: Emma Millar.

[T2000] That is a beautiful thing–yet so much works does go into it, thanks to people like you and our amazing Trails 2000 volunteers! Ok, we have to know: What is your favorite trail and why?
[Millar] I’m not sure I have a favorite trail; it’s like picking your favorite kid! I’ve built a lot of trails of which I’m very proud. My go-to after-work trail would probably be Star Wars. I’m a downhiller at heart, but I’m also pretty wimpy now, so Star Wars is great for making me feel super cool and fast, without being actually scary. However, it’s been about five years since I lived in Durango, and there are a lot of new trails, so I’ve got some riding to do!

[T2000] Yes you do! But before then, if you could offer advice to future generations of trail users, what would it be?
[Millar] My advice would be to just calm down, take a deep breath, and realize that no matter how you may feel about it, more people on trails is actually a good thing. Lots of studies show that besides the obvious health benefits of exercise and being outside, positive experiences on trails lead to more people actively protecting trails and access. And that is definitely good.

[T2000] It definitely is! We love that mentality. Ok, so now it is time for our favorite part. The Trails 2000 Speed round—ready, set:
Pulaski or McLeod? [Millar] Oh, man! I used to be such a Pulaski girl, but I’ve probably used a McLeod more in the last few years. My favorite tool is the right one for the job.
Run, hike, bike or ride (horses)? [Millar] Bike and hike.
Tea or coffee? [Millar] I love everything about coffee except the part where it makes me all weird. So I drink tea.

[T2000] Thanks Emma! It was so great to catch up with you. We know you’ve been busy getting ready for what we think is going to be an inspiring trail season. Before we go, anything else you would like us to know?
[Millar] Thank you! I’m stoked and grateful to be here, and I really do want to hear from trail users. Let me know what’s going on, and come introduce yourself at the Open House at Ska Brewing on March 1 and consider joining our Trail Reporter Program.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

©2018 Trails 2000 • PO Box 3868 • Durango, CO 81301 • 970-259-4682


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