With trails and outdoor events, Fremont Adventure Recreation grows, plans to continue

By Sara Knuth

    A cyclists looks toward the mountains after a mountain bike ride. (Ashlee Sack / Courtesy Photo)

Within 15 minutes of hiking the Le View trail on the Royal Gorge Park Trails, hikers can see scenery that stretches on for miles.

“You can see the river, you can see the bridge, you can see all the way across into the south rim, you can see the Wet Mountains beyond,” said Ashlee Sack, the event and administrative coordinator of Fremont Adventure Recreation. “I mean, that view is incredible – and a 3-year-old can do it.”

And for FAR, Sack said, the goal is to get more people onto trails like that. In the past year, the group has expanded, and still has plans to grow.

“We hope the trails are helping our community, but also brining business in,” Sack said. “So, it’s this cyclical making money to gain money and earn money, and of course, to benefit our community.”

FAR, which was officially started Oct. 10, 2010, began with seven board members who wanted to help the community place a greater emphasis on local outdoor recreation, Sack said.

A large part of their efforts became focused on building trails in Fremont County and bringing awareness to them with the events, ranging from races to hikes for children.

“They just wanted to promote outdoor recreation in Fremont County,” Sack said of the original board members. “Everyone was going out to (Colorado) Springs, Denver to participate in races and they wanted to create some events that kept them here.”

Seven years later, those efforts have resulted in partnerships to build miles of trails — including the Royal Gorge Park Trails, the Oil Well Flats and more — and dozens of annual events geared toward getting local people outside and bringing others to the region.

Additionally, the organization’s Adventure Guide, available at various local businesses, provides detailed information about local trails and out door activities.

In the past year, Sack said, the group has increased its number of events, which include the bike riding and community beer festival Bike & Brews, Adventure Kids community hikes, movie screenings and RunBlossom, a 5K run hosted during Cañon City’s Music and Blossom Festival and several others. Next year, she said, FAR has plans to host them all again.

“We expanded so much this year,” Sack said. “We had something going on twice a month every month. It was phenomenal.”

Outside of event-planning, Sack said some of FAR’s efforts have been geared toward tourism and attracting Front Range residents to Cañon City, a region ideal for outdoor activities in the winter.

“Biking is actually an industry, an outdoor industry,” she said. “Outdoor recreation actually does bring in money and we’re actually trying to capitalize on that here in Fremont County because if we have it, why not utilize it?”

While the group can’t know for sure how many out-of-town visitors the region attracts, Sack said she often runs into people who are traveling from out of state.

“We do run into them because we’re out there,” she said. “I do talk to them and they’re coming from all over the place.”

Additionally, Sack said, the group relies on partnerships with businesses, who help provide funding for trail building.

Many local businesses, including the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, participate in 1 percent for trails, an optional donation that can be tacked on to customers’ bills.

Sack also said their work aligns with their community-minded mission — to “promote a culture of community and healthy living through outdoor recreation in the Royal Gorge Region.”

As FAR gears up for more events, Sack emphasized the group’s work was done in partnership with outside entities, including the Bureau of Land Management’s Royal Gorge Field Office, the City of Cañon City and the Cañon City Parks and Recreation District.

More information about upcoming events, trail conditions and the organization is available at joinfar.org.

Sara Knuth: 719-276-7644, knuths@canoncitydailyrecord.com


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