Editor’s note: The Ouray County Plaindealer started publishing profiles of nonprofits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s in 2020 as a community service.
The purpose of these profiles is to highlight the meaningful work being performed by these organizations and let the community know how they can help them even more, as the holidays approach and we reach the end of 2023. Nonprofit organizations that are based in Ouray County and serve Ouray County are eligible for these profiles.
Year established as a nonprofit: 1986
What does your organization do for Ouray County?
Ouray Trail Group is an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides an enormous service to our local hiking, equestrian, mountain biking and trail-running community. Working with our local public lands management agencies and others, OTG keeps local non-motorized trails in great condition, while striving to keep users and volunteers safe.
OTG’s volunteer work touches every trail, whether through a hand or chainsawed log, a rock retaining wall or steps, water drainage structures, cut brush near the trail, signs and cairns to guide your way, or reliable maps to explore a new route. We also find new ways to expand your hiking experience across new bridges and into new places.
What do you list as your greatest accomplishments in 2023?
Our biggest project this year was the reroute of the Perimeter Trail off of Oak Street. Starting mid-April OTG volunteers worked for five weeks building a new half-mile mile stretch of trail. On July 18, a 32-foot-long bridge was set by helicopter, completing the work on the long-awaited segment. Many hours were spent behind the scenes planning, acquiring land, getting approval and permits and fundraising. Two new trailhead kiosks with parking, updated maps, interpretive materials and guidance for hikers have also been installed at the new Oak Street trailhead and the Visitor Center trailhead. We also removed 1,280 trees from local trails this year.
What are some goals or projects you have planned for 2024?
Coming up in 2024, in addition to maintaining trails, we will continue to improve the Perimeter Trail. One goal is to reroute the trail to get hikers off of Pinecrest Drive. We also will be updating the trail signage and improving access. And we will be publishing an updated trail map, full of information on Ouray county trails. For those who prefer using their phones for navigation, the new version of the map will also be available for use with the Avenza App.
Tell us how the community can help you do more here in Ouray County.
With 84 trails to maintain in Ouray County there are lots of opportunities to join us for a day of trail work or an overnight excursion. Working with the OTG is a great way to become familiar with Ouray’s amazing trail system while enjoying the great outdoors. We have a Community Work Day scheduled for June 1 and many other opportunities all season. Donations are used to fund our trail work, provide training to our volunteers and improve the map, information and signs. To learn more, reach out to us at contactus@ouraytrails. org and visit ouraytrails. org.
Thank you to Ames Risch for providing this information.