Group works to promote year-round self-propelled outdoor activities in Huerfano County
by Bob Kennemer
CUCHARA — The Timbers Restaurant, in Cuchara, once again, hosted the SPAA organization for a fundraiser. The young organization is focused on a wide range of winter outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ski mountaineering, plus summer activities like mountain biking, hiking, and mountain climbing.
Serving up a variety of chili recipes, with snow sport films being shown on a screen, SPAA volunteers joined with the Timbers staff to promote winter tourism in Huerfano County. Last year, SPAA worked with the Huerfano County Commissioners to obtain a snowmobile and a track setting machine to groom cross country ski trails on Old La Veta Pass. The old pass has long been a favorite area for locals to ski and even once had a small downhill skiing operation using a rope tow powered by and old truck.
However, with the opening of the new Cuchara Mountain Park (CMP), SPAA is now focusing on the Cuchara area. The current goal is to groom a variety of ski trails at the park to allow for X-C skate skiing, traditional X-C skiing, and snowshoeing. To that end, a variety of volunteers, along with the AmeriCorps group, to clean up the CMP area, to develop new trails, and to renovate old structures from the previous ski area.
The result is the park will now have a “day lodge” of sorts with a wood burning stove and will serve hot drinks and snacks, depending on demand and on volunteers to staff the lodge. Most likely the lodge will be open on weekends and other key dates. However, it must be stressed that this is an evolving effort and no plans are firm at this time.
Summer activities are also planned, with nature hikes, mountain biking trails and hiking. CMP provides backcountry access to the Pike San Isabel National Forest with thousands of acres open to outdoor adventure and recreation. In the winter, via the park, one can access the trails of the former Cuchara ski resort. Note no ski lifts – all self-powered!
The AmeriCorps volunteer group has been in Huerfano County for several weeks working on a variety of projects to improve life in Huerfano County. The group has worked hard to clean up old dilapidated buildings at CMP, with the park being their primary project. They also have been building trails, and even provided live music for the SPAA fundraiser.
SPAA is currently recruiting members and volunteers to help with everything from trail grooming, staffing the day lodge, and more. For more information go to Spanish Peaks Alpine Alliance on Facebook.