Shady Burro volunteers clean up trails

Courtesy photo Volunteers with the Shady Burro Enduro hit the trails to help repair damage caused during the race at the beginning of August near South Fork. The Shady Burro Enduro makes sure that trails are in near-perfect shape after their event every year and works closely with the Rio Grande National Forest Divide Ranger District to see that the work is done properly.

SOUTH FORK — It is not a secret that the work that goes into planning a huge event like the Shady Burro Enduro takes a lot of time, patience, and volunteers. What most people do not know is what goes into the repairs that occur on the trail after the event is over, except, of course, those that spend their days working to make sure the event can continue the following year.

Shady Burro Enduro coordinator Jud Barlow and his team of volunteers have spent nearly every opportunity they have in the weeks since the enduro took place working with the local Rio Grande National Forest Divide Ranger District and their trail team repairing any damage done while riders enjoyed two beautiful days in the forest at the beginning of August.

“The work doesn’t stop when the race is over,” Barlow said. “That is when we head out on the trails and make sure they are in tip-top shape. We go above and beyond to make a statement to everyone that this is how you take care of your forest.”

Barlow and the Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit have been working for several years to give OHV recreational use in Colorado forests across the state a positive image.

“This past weekend, we returned to South Fork as promised,” Barlow said. “We brought a team of 11 volunteers, with four utility ATVS, and seven motorcycles. We supplied rakes, shovels and picks and we worked all day on Bear Creek Trail No. 709. We spent a total of 88 manhours performing tasks such as repairing all manmade and natural trail drainage, placing rock and dirt in all ruts and draining all remaining low points in the trail that we could get to drain and also knocked down all corner berms that developed as a result of motorcycle usage.”

Through the work performed in the aftermath of any race, Barlow and other enduro users hope to instill the need for good forest stewardship if there is any hope of continuing the use of the mechanical vehicles along the trails.

“It’s our job to be the ambassadors for good stewardship in our forests,” Barlow said. “It is a reflection on all OHV users when trails are in bad repair after OHV use, especially after an event like this. That is why while we repair the trails from our events, we go further and do as much needed work as we can. We can’t do it all, but every bit counts.”

Barlow and his team will be back this weekend in the Embargo Creek area to do more work and are hoping to finish the repairs by the end of the weekend. In addition to the work, he and his team have accomplished, Barlow is also going to work with the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance to secure grant funding that could further fund trail maintenance throughout the Rio Grande National Forest. More information on the grant will be reported as it becomes available.

“Our commitment to the event, the forest, the San Luis Valley, and the economy is not going to waiver,” Barlow said. “We look forward to coming back next year and would like to extend our thanks to everyone who made the Shady Burro Enduro a success before, during and after the race.”