Friends of Fish Hatchery Turn Attention to Trails
It’s summertime and for Lake County Resident and visitors that means hitting the trails and getting out into the woods and back country. So, it’s a good time to check in with the Friends of The Leadville National Fish Hatchery (FLNFH) and see what’s new at one of everyone’s favorite local attractions!
This year the FLNFH has undertaken an initiative to motivate, facilitate, and support the National Forest Service in rehabilitating certain sections of the Highline Trail between the Rock Creek dam and the Colorado Trail, and the Kearney Park Trail.
The FLNFH is in the early stages of establishing a Permanent Trails Committee. This is a chance for Member Friends to become active in the organization, and have a real impact on improving the hiking environment above the hatchery. The group reports on their official FLNFH website, many of the trails are in REALLY BAD shape in spots, so bringing the hatchery trails up to standard is their number one priority this year.
The first step will be to survey these trail sections, take pictures, record GPS coordinates, and describe conditions. To that end, the Friends will be organizing two day hikes this summer to collect the data needed by the Forest Service in order to initiate the project.
Some of the initial work was done last July when several members hiked the Highline Trail up to the Colorado Trail intersection. They recorded locations and took photos of spots where the trail needs erosion controls built, or other serious maintenance.
This summer the group continues their efforts, inviting community members to join their efforts and consider joining the Friends formerly by becoming a member or making a donation of money or resources toward their efforts.
For additional information contact Judy Cole at 719-486-0176.
About the Friends of the Leadville Fish Hatchery
It was the fall of 2013 when the concern over the future of the second oldest continuously working federal hatchery in Leadville might be in jeopardy due to budget cuts. Fortunately by then, a group of local citizens had already mobilized as the Friends of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery (FLNFH), creating an entity that could advocate for saving the hatchery all while staying within the guidelines set forth with how the federal facility is operated.
While the group defines their mission as dedicated to promoting and developing the facilities of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and supporting programs which will make the hatchery a more valued resource to the community, their efforts have been far more valuable than that for Leadville.
Since then, not only have the FLNFH successfully brought one of Lake County’s biggest tourist attractions back from the edge of extinction, but they continue to make sizable improvements to the grounds and facility.
Sometimes their efforts focus on making improvements to the 125+ year old building(s), an act that would take months to make its way through budgetary approvals (if there’s even a chance of that), while other accomplishments include building a beautiful new pavilion at Evergreen Lake to be enjoyed by folks planning weddings, school reunions, and family gatherings. This group of dedicated citizens knows how to mobilize efforts and get the job done. Yes, they do all of that while continuing to monitor the hatchery’s future, keeping that message before politicians and residents. Interested in joining their efforts? Connect with them HERE.
About the Leadville National Fish Hatchery
Construction of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery began in 1889. Initially the hatchery supplied eggs and fingerling fish to streams and lakes throughout Colorado, the western U.S. and even to Europe and Japan.
Currently, the hatchery supplies anywhere from 60,000 to 200,000 trout to Turquoise Lake, the Forebay, Twin Lakes, Clear Creek in Chaffee County and beyond. The hatchery is also the location of one of three populations of the endangered greenback cutthroat trout. The federal hatchery system originated as a way to ameliorate the negative effect on native fish populations from mining, logging, ranching, stocking of non-native species and over-fishing.
The Leadville National Fish Hatchery still plays a role in mitigating the impacts of these activities. Additionally, it has become a well-loved destination for historical tourism and outdoor enthusiasts. Reunions, school functions and special events are often held at the picnic grounds. According to local hatchery management, it’s estimated that the economic impact of the fish hatchery to the local area and Colorado is over $3 million. Now that’s somethings worth catching . . . and NOT releasing!