Over the past several decades urban development in Vail has increased exponentially which has had a significant impact on the habitat in and around Gore Creek, a major tributary of the Eagle River. Much of the habitat along Gore Creek has been degraded by undirected social use and building development. As a result, water quality, aesthetics, and flora and fauna are being negatively affected by pollutants and sediment entering Gore Creek. Numerous social trails present a hazard to recreationalists in the area, and have resulted in erosion issues near the creek and along the bike path. Gore Creek is listed on the State of Colorado’s 303d list of impaired waters and has been identified as a high-priority zone by the Eagle County Urban Runoff Group’s Gore Creek Strategic Action Plan.
The Gore Creek Strategic Action Plan Identified 42 proposed restoration sites along Gore Creek. The Lionshead Skiers Bridge area was identified as one of these sites because it has experienced significant degradation due to heavy traffic and undirected social use.
The Lionshead Project will encompass improvements to family-friendly recreational opportunities while fostering river and land stewardship through volunteer restoration efforts and educational opportunities. Focusing social use and creek access to more convenient areas will improve recreational opportunities, and at the same time protect the riparian zone from an excess of harmful social trails. This project will consist of several phases, and will provide an excellent opportunity for volunteers to engage in habitat restoration. The Lionshead Project will be multifaceted and ultimately will improve user experience and riparian habitat.
The first phase of this project will be focused on the removal of undirected social trails and improvement of the overall trail network. Removal of undirected social trails and improvement of the trail network will greatly improve user experience and riparian habitat.
The second phase of this project will be open to volunteers, and will be focused on revegetation of undirected social trails. The Eagle River Watershed Council will be coordinating volunteer opportunities in which volunteers can help improve the riparian habitat by aiding in the planting of native riparian plant species. These volunteer days provide an excellent opportunity for volunteers to learn about riparian habitat and health, responsible recreation, and river stewardship.
The third phase of this project will be focused on the installation of stone steps in strategic locations to help negate degradation driven by erosion and heavy user traffic. The strategic locations will be determined by the Town of Vail’s Design Review Board in their Gore Creek Access Plan which is currently being developed.
The first volunteer day is scheduled for July 21st. For more information about volunteering at the Lionshead Project please contact Brooke at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 827-5406.