It was my summer of hard labor. Taking a break from college waitressing, I took up a Pulaski and joined an AmeriCorps trail crew. We cut new trails through open space near Fort Collins, built water bars on trails in Rawah Wilderness Area and pieced together stone pathways in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Now days, my hardest work is on a bike, riding trails in Routt County. Sometimes, when my tires flow over a smooth section of newly minted trail, I reminisce about having a shovel in hand and feeling good about giving back.

For now, I’m supporting — and encouraging others to support — those who do the tough work, by donating to the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund. Created in 2015, it ensures non-motorized trails in Routt and Moffat counties are safe and accessible to users forever. The goal is big — $1 million to $1.5 million in the next 10 years — but easily attainable if all users contribute. Now is a great time to join the effort. Contributions from new donors through Oct. 15 will be matched up to $5,000.

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