The Regional Regional Forester’s Honor Awards are presented annually to USFS employees and partners and are considered the Rocky Mountain Region’s highest honor. Brian Ferebee, USFS Regional Forester, chose the Nordic Trailhead Rehabilitation Project as this year’s top recipient for Delivering Benefits to the Public.

“For strengthening communities and connecting people to the outdoors, and ensuring forests and grasslands deliver values, uses, products, and services people want and need,” the award was shared by the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest, Grand Mesa Nordic Council, Delta County, and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Scott Armentrout, District Ranger accepted the award for the GMUG. Dave Knutson, past President for GMNC acknowledged that this project was a silver lining to a dark cloud. Two USFS volunteers were killed in an unfortunate traffic accident and this project vastly improved safety for Nordic skiers at the Skyway and County Line trailheads.

Past GMNC Presidents Christie Aschwandan and Annie Murphy as well as current President Winslow Robertson were cited for their efforts to make this project move forward. The key player was Doug Marah as USFS’s lead Engineer managing the many partners and moving parts as the project progressed. Both State Representative Millie Hamner and former Senator Gail Schwartz stepped up with support at a crucial juncture. Dan Sickles of Delta County ensured equipment and manpower was deployed throughout the project bringing in timely and significant resources. And last but certainly not least, Ken Mackay and Keith Stillings from CDOT worked diligently and made the Trailhead project a priority.

Nordic skiers from our region, Colorado, and other states are deeply grateful for the improved vehicle access, paving, and new changing rooms and restrooms.