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June 2016, Middle St. Vrain/Coney Flats project

Adam Mehlberg  | Published on Saturday, June 25, 2016
Trailridge Runners 4WD Club - Article
Middle St. Vrain/Coney Flats Project and Camp Out
by Adam Mehlberg
On June 25th our club was back to work on the Middle St. Vrain and Coney Flats 4WD roads. This was going to be a big logistics project this year. We gathered at the Middle St. Vrain parking lot early Saturday morning. As we waited for Kariann and Mary from the Boulder Ranger District to arrive with the rails for the buck and rail fencing we planned out the day. We would be running the Middle St. Vrain and Coney Flats roads to make sure all of the snow had melted and the road was ready for vehicle traffic. The group doing this would also haul up the new Middle St. Vrain trail head Wilderness sign and install it on the other side of the river. They would also install carsonite signs at the pond on the south side of the Coney Creek crossing to keep the public from driving into the pond. Last year someone decided that driving into the pond would be cool.

The second group would be working at the Middle St. Vrain entrance painting the kiosk and host site picnic table, doing maintenance on the road at the gate, and putting a rock back into the main obstacle that had been moved.

A third group would be hauling up the 200 feet of buck and rail fencing. Gordon and Josh made three trips from the entrance to the water holes with trailer full of fencing to get all 200 feet moved.
Kiosk plaques Kiosk with Darrel and John's plaques

I was with the group at the entrance and by noon we had most of the work done. Bob, Jana, and Laddie did all of the painting on the kiosk and picnic table. With lunch provided we all drove up to the water holes, where the buck and rail was going, and enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the shade. Thanks to Justin Kennymore and Liz Shires for providing us with a great lunch.
Entrance obstacle repair Working on the entrance obstacle repair

After lunch we used our radios to find out that the first group had installed the sign and were at Coney Flats. We headed back up to the entrance and finished up the work, loading the last of the buck and rail into Josh’s trailer and then Gordon, Steve, Karen and I worked on the re-planting of our obstacle rock. Using a rock bar and people power we dropped the first rock into the hole we made and then moved the second rock into place. We packed the dirt back in with hopes the rocks would stay put this time.

Kariann arrived back at the Middle St. Vrain parking lot with the crew that drove the road around 5pm. We re-shuffled tools and loaded up the stuff we no longer needed into the Forest Service truck. Kariann thanked us for our volunteer work and head back to the Forest Service center at Nederland.

With our work done we all headed back to the water holes and the shade trees to camp for the night. Dinner was cooked up by Matt and Carol Anne. We all donated a can of Chili to the pot. After dinner Jim and Paula headed back up to Coney Flats to retrieve a Fiskar saw that Tom, in the first group, had left unintentionally.

The next morning was the final project. We would be installing the buck and rail fencing along the first water hole where people had started driving into the marsh along the water hole crossings. We worked on the east side first, as it was a bit dryer, and build as we went, paying special attention to the power cord connections to make sure they stayed out of the water. It took 70 feet of buck and rail to reinforce the route on this side of the water hole. The west side would be a bit more difficult. We hauled the pieces across the water and mud by having Ray, Richard, and Jim who had boots, do the watery part of the relay. Ray almost lost a boot in one deep muddy area.
Buck and Rail construction Starting the buck and rail at the water hole

Once we got the first section in place it was just a matter of building sections through the mud and water where the edge of the road use to be. The section took about 80 feet.

We had a few sections left so we replaced some very old buck and rail, that had fallen down, along the second water hole. This section was done in short order. It was time to collect up all the tools and pack up the camping stuff to head out and unlock the gate. I left my black 100 foot extension cord by a section of buck and rail we had built last year intending to get it when I came across the second water hole. Of course I forgot it.
Buck and Rail completed Buck and rail completed

After a group picture we started back to the Middle St. Vrain parking lot. Ray picked a wrong line and got hung up on a rock just past the old corduroy road repair. Bob pulled him off the rock in short order. When we got to the gate, there were ATVs and Razors waiting to get in to run the road. We unlocked the gate and let the masses in. Our troubles were not over though. Jim had hit his emergency brake drum on his drive shaft (1970s style E-brake) and damaged it to the point he would need to be towed home. This is when I realized I had left my extension cord back at the water holes. Great.

So, Paula got hooked up to tow Jim home, Karla and Richard volunteered to go back to the water holes to look for my extension cord, and I headed over to the Beaver Reservoir to unlock the Coney Flats gate. By the time I got back to the Middle St. Vrain, Richard and Karla had made it back out, but did not find the extension cord. It seemed the ATVs and Razor guys must have picked it up. Of course they had to come back to the Middle St. Vrain because they are not street legal. We had taken enough time that we were there when they came out and they had pick up the extension cord. So in the end we retrieved all of the lost equipment.

Thanks to everyone that stepped up and helped make this complex project a success.

Look for more photos in the 2016 June, Middle St. Vrain Project photo album