QUITE PLACES MATTER

Silent Tracks, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was established in 2015. We provide a voice for human-powered backcountry recreationists in the Gunnison Valley. We represent human-powered users of all ages, including hikers, xc skiers, mountain bikers, backpackers, photographers, anglers, wildlife viewers, and many others.

Our organization follows four guiding core values/principals

Advocate

We ADVOCATE for land managers to make decisions that are sustainable, balance the concerns of users and ensure the quiet recreation and enjoyment of public lands.

Collaborate

We COLLABORATE and engage with diverse groups of government agencies, non-profits, and other stakeholder organizations to ensure the best management outcomes in policy-making decisions.

Advanced Options

We EDUCATE the community through outreach, events, and other programs to foster an appreciation for the balanced use of backcountry.

Preserve

We work to PRESERVE natural habitats and opportunities for solitude, including the backcountry soundscape, by minimizing disturbance of the environment.

Initiatives/Accomplishments

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Data Collection Initiative (DCI)

Coming up on its third winter season, Silent Tracks has teamed up with the Western Colorado University, Master in Environmental Management (MEM) Program to provide funding for graduate students to collect recreational user data in the backcountry of the Gunnison Valley.  Silent Tracks has raised over $12,500 for this program via donations from members, the Community Foundation of Gunnison Valley (CFGV), the Town of Crested Butte, and other organizations that support our mission.

Beth Carter_Whetstone with Lake

Solitude Monitoring

Silent Tracks has partnered with the Gunnison National Forest. We recruited volunteers to conduct solitude monitoring surveys on two trails in the West Elk Wilderness, Mill Castle Trail #450 and  Coal Mesa Trail #451. Members and volunteers donated over 100 hours of their time to complete the monitoring in the summer and fall of 2018. We anticipate this project will be ongoing and look forward to working on other solitude monitoring projects in the future.

fat bike chamber

Winter Travel Management Plan (WTMP)

Silent Tracks is a sponsor and a participant in the informational series on winter recreation travel management. The four-part series will be held at Western Colorado University throughout November and early December 2018.  

2016 Festival Photo

Community Events and Fundraising

Silent Tracks has been active in leading and participating in community engagement and outreach

  1. Roaring Judy Bird Walk:   Led by Arden Andersen, an avid bird watcher, and bird expert.   It was well attended with 12 birder enthusiasts who joined for lunch afterward at Tassinong Farms in CB South.
  2. CB Arts Festival:   Silent Tracks was an exhibitor at the 2018 Crested Butte Arts Festival.  Members and volunteers manned the display over three days, provided educational information, and we increased our membership by nearly 30%, in addition to collecting significant monetary donations in support of our goals.
volunteer nordic ski crested butte

Local Community Advocacy

Our advocacy for preservation and quiet use has resulted in policies that reflect our member’s desires regarding our public lands.  Initiatives include:

  1. We have participated in forums such as the Gunnison County Planning Commission public comment meetings to make our members’ sentiments known on issues ranging from helicopter tourism to expansion of over-snow vehicular travel in the Gothic Corridor.  
  2. Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI):   Although ST was not an official member of the “working committee”, ST participated by attending GPLI working group meetings as observers and submitting written comments over the past two years.   ST has been a voice for the preservation of quiet places and has voiced strong support for wilderness extensions and new wilderness areas proposed by the GPLI working group.  
  3. GMUG National Forest Revision Plan:  ST has submitted written comments to the Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest throughout the Forest Plan revision process.  We continue to review, comment and inform our members and supporters through our e-newsletters and Action Alerts on the developing plan.

Goals and Objectives

  • Educate the community about the benefits of human powered recreation and promote educational programs and activities that develop appreciation for quiet places
  • Create and expand partnerships and collaborate with other non-profits, public land managers and other stakeholders to protect and promote areas for quiet human-powered recreation in the backcountry
  • Educate community and public about need for balanced use in the backcountry of the Gunnison Valley.
  • Continue to seek funding for ongoing winter data collection (DCI) and is researching options for summer expansion.
  • Develop strategies and mechanisms for resolving conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users
  • Actively participate in the planning processes that dictate policy on public lands
  • Preservation of wilderness, natural ecosystems, and quiet places with opportunities for solitude
  • Expand Membership and outreach through community engagement