TWIN FALLS — The grass is always greener on the other side — unless you’re trimming it.
More than 30 volunteers assembled at the Auger Falls Trail system on Saturday, rakes and sheers in hand. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., they snipped, built, maintained and cleaned up the overgrowth and goat heads to reshape the trails at Auger Falls.
Koto Brewing Co., Bull Moose Bicycles and the Dirt Trails Alliance teamed up to host the event in a community effort to keep the trails intact and well-managed for the upcoming riding season, which runs from April through October.
Awaiting volunteers in the parking lot, Koto Brewing head brewer Pierre Tusow and Bull Moose co-owner Nate Rioux jammed out to the Grateful Dead and the Black Keys in a lively welcome for all the participants.
“This event promotes awareness and brings the community together,” Rioux said. “Through volunteerism you can meet so many different people and improve your community involvement.”
The distant sound of weed whackers could be heard between songs as the parking lot filled to the brim. Riders and hikers quickly dispersed throughout the bushes scattered along the 15-mile trail system plucking thorns, trimming tall grasses and smoothing out rain-washed sections. Some volunteers walked, others rode their bikes, but everyone had a tool in hand and a smile on their face while they worked on different sections.
Two female volunteers along Haunted Forest Trail, Michelle Sullivan and Lane Daley, accompanied by their dogs, May and Huckleberry, trimmed every possible blade of grass sticking out onto the trail. The two walked along the path chatting about previous adventures together and the Twin Falls community. They played an intricate part in helping reduce the chance for grass entanglements in wheel spokes for future riders.
“Auger Falls is a wonderful asset to our community,” Sullivan commented afterward. “It was very exciting to see so many people taking their time to give back to our local trail system.”
As the canines trailed behind their human companions, a few riders passed by with shovels in their backpacks sporting Dirt Trails Alliance shirts, a badge of honor showing the commitment to the cause. The alliance held a cleanup event last year, but Saturday’s event was the first iteration as a group.
“We have different riders. Each rider brings a different vibe, but shows something unique and can learn from each other,” Rioux said. “It was a great turnout for sure.”
The Auger Falls cleanup is a prime example of the Magic Valley’s community spirit. Rioux and Tusow encouraged that spirit all morning long as the volunteers came and went — collecting beer tokens for a hard day’s work.
Distant laughs and yellow shirts pocked the sprawling canyon. The occasional volunteer’s bike helmet bobbed above the grass, stopping to trim or shovel as the day progressed.
“People moving to Twin Falls don’t know that volunteers make the trails happen,” Rioux said, back in the parking lot. “The Dirt Trail Alliance does most of the maintenance. They’re the dirty side of MavTEC.”
Rioux and Susow spoke of misconceptions as the popular Black Keys song “Lonely Boy” echoed through the Snake River Canyon.
“At our shop, we try to dispel the notion to dress a certain way or ride a certain way,” Rioux said. “There are many ways to put a smile on your face when riding a bike.”
Volunteers high-fived and laid their shovels down after breaking a sweat.
As the cleanup concluded, the real riding began. Riders lapped the freshly groomed trails before rendezvousing at Koto.
Rioux, Daley, Sullivan, and several others raised their glasses while sampling some of Tusow’s finest craft brew creations to commemorate the day.