In honor of Corona’s 20th anniversary, we are celebrating the outstanding people and organizations making a positive contribution to our community.

Each month, Corona is making a $500 donation in honor of a member of our team. For February, David Kennedy selected the Colorado Fourteeners* Initiative (CFI). We chatted with David to learn more about this organization and his relationship with them.

Why did you choose the Colorado Fourteeners Initiatve?

As mentioned in our interview with David, he began volunteering with this organization more than a decade ago. In his early days at Corona, he volunteered on 1–2 projects a year for them. This included his first real volunteer trail work experience, and while he went on to volunteer for other state and national groups, he always stayed in touch with CFI and made them one of his monthly charitable donations.

Hiking in on Mt Elbert. Photo by David Kennedy.

Especially after being involved with some other trail work organizations, David began to see the uniqueness of CFI and the quality of work they do. Trails built by CFI, for instance, are commonly built to a 100+ year standard, meaning that the trail, with minimum maintenance, should hold up for generations to come. This may not seem that special to the average person, or even hiker, but considering the popularity of the fourteeners and resulting wear and tear, the challenges of constructing trails at those altitudes (in often remote settings), and other challenges with trail design in general (e.g., erosion), it becomes clear just how tough CFI’s work is.

David was, and remains, impressed with the standard of trail work provided by CFI, describing them as the Green Berets of trail builders. When an injury a couple of years ago prevented him from doing volunteer trail work, David continued to look for ways to be involved with CFI and other organizations, lending a hand with other skills such as photography and marketing assistance. Most recently, he had the chance to join CFI’s board, an opportunity he quickly accepted.

What is special about CFI?

Beyond the quality of work noted above, one of the main things that David really appreciates about CFI is their single focus on high peaks. While other similar organizations do a variety of trail work, CFI specializes in high alpine trail work. As a result, the level of expertise that CFI brings to their work is both extremely high and unique. Compared to the ecosystems below the tree line, the high peaks of Colorado face unique issues, such as greater exposure and a shorter growing season. Add to the challenge of remote worksites and the altitude, and trail work is much more labor intensive.

* For non-Coloradans, a fourteener is a peak above 14,000 feet. There are 53 such peaks in Colorado (depending on how exactly you count them)—the most of any state, including Alaska. They are a popular destination for climbers and hikers alike.

Throughout 2019, to help celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we are profiling our staff and select clients. Corona is also donating $500 on behalf of each staff person to a charitable organization of their choice. Click here to view all of our interviews. 

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