Such a loss, not only for the person Dick Bratton was, but for the void he has left in our GMF community and the larger regional trails community. Following his military retirement as an Air Force Major in 1982, Dick settled in the Town of GMF, bringing with him his commitment to public service.
Dick was a professional architect, avid Dodgers baseball fan and accomplished downhill ski racer. From town-to-region, state-to-country, Dick Bratton’s trail legacy is monumental. He founded and chaired GMF’s trail committee for many years, leading the design and construction of a ‘legendary’ 12-mile hiking trail network in and around GMF, all at no cost to the taxpayer. He contributed to the greater Pikes Peak region in many ways, serving as chair of the El Paso County Parks Board, initiating action to create the first Parks Master Plan in 1997. Dick was instrumental in establishing the Ute Pass Trail championing the project’s benefits before the El Paso County Commissioners. At the larger level, Dick served on the Colorado State Trails Committee and was a director of the American Discovery Trail Society.
Above and beyond his myriad official contributions, Dick added joy to our community, volunteering countless hours over many decades to ensure the success of GMF’s annual Bronc Day community celebration, coordinating many events and activities to keep children and families smiling. He was also an extremely generous benefactor to GMF, shoring up Town infrastructure from the public swimming pool, to Gazebo Lake, to purchasing fire mitigation equipment to make our community safer. He also authored 6 successful grant proposals that benefited GMF.
As the waves of sorrow wash over those who knew Dick Bratton, we know that we will not sink, but swim, for Dick Bratton taught us how. He left this world as he lived: on his terms. I know he is at peace knowing there are so many people he guided and mentored, fostering a generation of dedicated trails supporters committed to preserving and expanding his legacy. It is no surprise that Dick Bratton continued to give until the very end: the night before he died he could be found participating as a member in the town’s fire mitigation committee, a group formed at his urging.