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Volunteers reroute Dedisse Park’s path to Alderfer/Three Sisters

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Trailblazers

By Corinne Westeman

Almost 100 volunteers spent National Trails Day rerouting the Dedisse Trail that connects to Alderfer/Three Sisters Park.

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Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado had 63 people clearing rocks and digging out 1,600 feet of new trail Saturday, creating a more sustainable connection between Dedisse Park and its neighbor to the west. Meanwhile, the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers had about 40 people restoring the former trail and closing it off from public use.

According to Brad Eckert, a project manager with Denver Parks & Recreation, the rerouted trail segment is now open to hikers and bikers.

The redesign has been in-process for about two years, he said, adding that it was necessary because the former trail went up a fall line. After rain or snowfall, it continually eroded and caused resource damage, Eckert said.

The rerouted trail, though, is perpendicular to the fall line, follows the topography better and allows water to run over it instead of down it, he added.

Sophie Shiaris, a project manager for VOC, said that her organization’s trail construction project was originally scheduled for Colorado Public Lands Day on May 20, but was rescheduled due to snow. Several volunteers couldn’t make the new date, but others stepped up to help, she said, adding that about half of the overall participants were first-time volunteers with VOC.

Building trails together

Whether they had volunteered as part of a group, were from the Denver area or locals who frequented Dedisse regularly, the trail-builders said the project was an opportunity to improve the parks and trails they enjoy.

“It’s good to give back in areas where you have an impact,” said Tom Furgason of Arvada.

Furgason had volunteered as part of the Colorado Mountain Bike Association, and he and some of his fellow members signed up to help with this particular project as they use the biking trails in Evergreen frequently.

Veteran volunteers Julie Martin and her son, Charlie Westfall, 14, both of Evergreen, said they initially signed up with VOC because they enjoy the outdoors and like volunteering together. The pair had previously worked on eight trail projects together, with Westfall adding, “I want to make Colorado a better place — even better than it is now.”

Martin said, “It’s amazing to see what you can get done with 50 people in a few short hours.”

First-time volunteers Katherine Frasca and Chaz Darling, both of Denver, hike regularly, especially at Alderfer/Three Sisters. After reading about the event on Facebook, the couple thought it would be a fun way to support public lands, be active in the community and help with sustainability efforts.

“We’ve been involved in using the trails, but never creating them,” Darling said.

Frasca added, “It’s a way to give back to the outdoor spaces that we use, and allow people more access to the outdoors.”

Whether they’ll return to Dedisse Park to see the trail they had helped build, Darling commented, “I think we have to come back.”