Clear Creek County trails being graded, maintained for upcoming hiking season

GEORGETOWN, Colo. -- Fifty-seven people died climbing Colorado's highest mountains between 2010 and 2017. Trail safety experts tell FOX31 that basic hiking trails can be dangerous as well.

The Clear Creek County Trails Strike Force is taking action to ensure hikers are safe this spring. Trails supervisor James Kovaly said more than 100 miles of hiking paths are being graded and maintained.

A new "Easy To Hike" app is being enhanced to allow hikers to access information about points of interest as well as report trail conditions and animal sightings.

"If you see a bear, mountain lion or some interesting wildlife, you can use the notification button and it makes us aware of that," said Kovaly.

A new member is bringing some special talents to the strike force. "Sadie the Trail Dog" works with the team to help clear the trails and serves as a mascot for trail safety.

"She knows the trail systems really well and if she found somebody lost, she could definitely lead them back," Kovaly said.

Sadie was discovered at an Arkansas shelter, where she was scheduled to be euthanized. She was a 1-year-old puppy at the time. Today, Sadie enjoys spending her time on the Trails Strike Force Team, surrounded by Colorado's wilderness and lots of love and support.

"She’s got a lot of energy, she’s part of the crew," Kovaly said.

Although safety patrols are established throughout Colorado, Kovaly emphasizes there is no substitution for common sense.

"We have people who show up with no water, wearing a tank top and sandals. They show up and think they’re going to hike up a 14’er because it’s 80 degrees down here but at the top, it’s 40 degrees and hail. Hey, get some hiking shoes, go get a bottle of water and bring a jacket. Be prepared," Kovaly said.

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