Snowplowing can be fun. Really. Ever tried it? When I was a teenager we lived for a few years in a mountain valley where my dad had to plow a 1/2 mile driveway. He mounted a tiny plow on a Jeep CJ, chained all four corners, and chiseled away at the white stuff with that underpowered truck like a farmer plowing with one mule instead of a team. I remember ride-alongs, snow flying over the roof as the blade bounced over rocks and sparked in the night, me wiping our breath fog off the windshield with a rag I found on the floor. It was great.
Yeah, snowplowing can be fun — in small doses. But what would it be like if we had to plow our own highways every time it stormed, and what about our favorite trailheads? Thankfully, our trail parking gets opened by various entities. Some t-heads here in western Colorado, such as McClure pass, get hit regularly by CDOT plows. Other access zones, such as the Quarry Road out of Marble, receive attention from private concerns (who we should be ever so grateful to and accommodating of). Still others get attention from snowmobilers. In fact, dozens of trailheads throughout our state get maintained by a snowmobile fee program administered by Colorado State Parks. More, our own local snowmobile club (Mt. Sopris Recreational Riders) leases and maintains the Marion Gulch parking area, one of our nicer nearby trailheads.
Paying our snowmobile registration helps fund the state program. But our local club also needs funding for trail and trailhead maintenance. To that end they have a membership and sticker program. Thus, the latest sticker to grace our Silverado’s back window: snowmobile club. It’s a nice sticker, with our iconic Mt. Sopris rising up from the club motto “Respect Protect Enjoy,” surrounded by tiny graphics depicting the mix of outdoor recreation we enjoy around here — including human powered sports.
Yeah, snowmobilers hike too, but my main point? Figure out who maintains your favorite trailheads. Write them a check or at least bake them some cookies — and above all know that it takes all kinds of workers, organizations and backcountry users to keep our access open.