camping trash dillon.JPG

Piles of trash left by dispersed campers in the woods of the Dillon Ranger District in Summit County. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service 

Want to help keep Colorado beautiful? Get your hands dirty this summer with one of many volunteering opportunities popping up around the state. Here are six organizations where you can get out there and volunteer while making a difference on Colorado's trails. 

1. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of the state's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas, and a host of recreational programs. The agency hosts a variety of tree-planting and trash cleanup events throughout the year. 

CPW is planning to launch a new volunteer platform on July 1. In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit cpw.state.co.us.

2. The Colorado Trail Foundation (CFT)

The Colorado Trail Foundation maintains all 567–miles of the Colorado Trail passing through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rockies from Denver to Durango. The non-profit organization typically starts recruiting volunteers for summer trail events by mid-February. During events, volunteers camp, cook food, and work together to maintain sections of trail.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Colorado Trail Foundation, click here or please call the office at 303-384-3729 or ctf@coloradotrail.org.

3. Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI)

Join the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative in constructing, maintaining, and restoring trails on the state's highest peaks. Summer projects this year include single-day trail maintenance on Quandary, Bross, and Grays, as well as multi-day backcountry projects on Mount Huron and Holy Cross.

For more information on how you can volunteer with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, please visit 14ers.org or email cfi@14ers.org.

4. ECO Trails

ECO Trails oversees a multi-use trail system through the Eagle River Valley, encompassing 63 miles from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon with a connection to Red Cliff. The group will kick off a cleanup this Friday, June 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. along the iconic bike path on Vail Pass. Volunteers will meet at the Lionshead Welcome Center on East Lionshead Circle in the morning. For more details, head over to www.facebook.com/ecotrails.us.

5. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)

Established in 1984, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado is one the state's oldest outdoor stewardship non-profit organizations. VOC's mission is to provide "hands-on opportunities for people of all ages to protect, enhance, and restore Colorado's outdoor places."

VOC has made a huge impact in Colorado over the last 30 years. The group has completed more than 1,300 outdoor projects thanks to more than 120,000 volunteers across the state. 

The volunteer season typically runs from April to October. To learn more about volunteering with VOC, please visit voc.org.

6. Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC)

Connect with The Continental Divide Trail Coalition for summer trail maintenance projects ranging in length from one to five days, as well as trail adoption programs. The Continental Divide Trail spans 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, topping out at its highest point at 14,270 feet on Grays Peak.

No experience is necessary to join. For more information on volunteering or adopting a portion of the trail with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, please visit continentaldividetrail.org.

Editor's Note: Thank you to all the volunteers out there! We truly could not keep Colorado beautiful without you.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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