Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

29 Dec 2013

Your donation to Trails 2000: Where it goes, and how their spending data compares

Posted by Adam Howell


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Trails 2000 is a non-profit organization in Durango that many locals associate with sustainable trail design, construction and maintenance practices. Others might disagree, and pitch some examples.

Given Trails 2000’s local popularity and the likelihood that people will continue giving them money for the cause, it is reasonable for donors to expect that some of their money will be spent on trail-related expenses.

More specifically, what is Trails 2000 doing with its revenues from fundraising? Looking at their most recent IRS Form 990 financial returns filed in 2011 (they are delinquent on their return for 2012), about 7.7%  was spent on actual ‘trail expenses’.

Trails 2000's IRS Form 990 data for 2011.

Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 data for 2011.

Yet a recent comparison of IRS Form 990 data from various trail organizations in Colorado shows that Trails 2000 lags behind its counterparts in its expenditures towards trail expenses and events.

The Colorado Trail Foundation's Executive Director Bill Manning is the former Executive Director of Trails 2000.

The Colorado Trail Foundation’s Executive Director Bill Manning is the former Executive Director of Trails 2000.

Gunnison Trails organization is unique in the sense that they spend some of their budget on a youth mountain bike team.

Gunnison Trails organization is unique in the sense that they spend some of their budget on a high school mountain biking organization.

The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association is unique in the sense that their trail builds and maintenance are specifically for mountain bikes.

The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association is unique in the sense that their trail builds and maintenance are specifically for mountain bikes.

The Colorado Trail Foundation, Gunnison Trails and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association all allocated more towards trails expenses than Trails 2000, at 7.3% more, 1.3% more and 30% more, respectively.

Two signs in Horse Gulch with the same map on each one, within feet of each other. They were paid for and installed by Trails 2000.

Two signs in Horse Gulch with the same map on each one, within feet of each other. They were paid for and installed by Trails 2000, according to Durango’s Assistant Director of Community Development Kevin Hall.

Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 financial return for 2011 shows that  out of a budget of $151,159 dollars, about 7.4%, or $11,217 dollars was spent on ‘trail expenses’. At the same time, Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown was paid 36% of the budget at $55,360 dollars.

Knowing that Trails 2000 relies mostly upon the work of volunteers to do maintenance and trail construction, how was the $11,217 dollars in ‘trail expenses’ for 2011 spent, exactly?

This excavator was used by Trails 2000 to relocate Stacy's Loop in 2011.

This excavator was used by Trails 2000 to relocate Stacy’s Loop in 2011.

Looking back, Trails 2000 did spend some money in 2011 on renting an excavator to reroute Stacy’s Loop. They also spent some money on signage and benches in Horse Gulch.

With that said, we may never know what all the money was spent on, because Mary Monroe refuses to go on the record about anything for Horse Gulch Blog, and Trails 2000’s Treasurer Terryl Peterson did not return this blogger’s phone call.

In 2013, a more recent trail that Trails 2000 partially planned out and subcontracted the building of in Horse Gulch called The Scratch, aka Snakecharmer, was  all paid for indirectly by the City of Durango. The City approved the project, and then gave the money to Trails 2000 to spend on a crew leader, a griphoist and signage. Snakecharmer budget request, Trails 2000

 

 

Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 for 2011–Finances, mission, programs

Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 for 2010–Finances, mission, programs

Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 for 2009–Finances, mission, programs

Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Form 990, 2012

Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Form 990, 2011

Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Form 990, 2010

Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Form 990, 2009

Gunnision Trails, Form 990, 2012

Gunnison Trails, Form 990, 2011

Gunnison Trails, Form 990, 2010

Colorado Trail Foundation, Form 990, 2011

Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Form 990, 2012

Moab Trails Alliance, Form 990 for 2005

Photograph by Eirik White

Kevin Hall, Durango’s Assistant Community Development Director, sits with Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Monroe and former La Plata County Manager Shawn Nau at a meeting at Fort Lewis College. Photograph by Eirik White.

 

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