Colorado: Planners eye Breck-Alma trail link

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A recpath could someday connect Breckenridge and Alma via Hoosier Pass.

Workshops set to get community input

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Long-range planning for a potential paved trail connection between Breckenridge and Alma, in Park County, continues this month with a pair of community workshops aimed at reviewing a draft plan prepared by a Boulder consultant.

Summit County open space and trail planners said in a press release that previous rounds of input from various stakeholders, including landowners in the area, has resulted in the development of a couple of alignment options, none of which are “set in stone” at this stage.

These community workshops are a chance for Summit and Park County residents to take a look at the proposed draft plan and give their feedback.

The workshops are set for Tuesday, March 19 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. at Alma Town Hall (59 E. Buckskin) and Wednesday, March 20 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. at Breckenridge Town Hall.

For more information, please contact Katie Kent of the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department at (970) 668-4092 or via email at katiek@co.summit.co.us.

$1.7 million grant boosts Rocky Mountain Greenway

greenway map

The Rocky Mountain Greenway will help connect residents if the Denver metro area with the great outdoors. Map courtesy USFWS.

Open space vision aims to connect cities with wildlife refuges, parks and open space

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A $1.7 million grant from the federal government will help move the metro Denver area closer to the final vision of the Rocky Mountain Greenway, with uninterrupted trails and open space connecting communities in the region.

“The Rocky Mountain Greenway is a shining example of what happens when strong federal, state, local and private partnerships align to take the vision of this uninterrupted trail and open space network and turn it into a reality for the Denver metropolitan area,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. “Already we’ve constructed important links in the Greenway, and today’s funding will help complete another critical section to connect Denver’s hundreds of miles of trails.” Continue reading

Summit County: Get your trail-building groove on

Volunteers on a previous project work on a Golden Horseshoe Trail. Photo courtesy Chris Bales.

Volunteers wanted to help complete key trail connection in the Golden Horseshoe

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After years of planning, the shovels and picks will hit the dirt this summer to build a key trail connection in the 9,000-acre Golden Horseshoe area, just outside Breckenridge.

On the weekend of Aug. 4 – 5, hundreds of volunteers, coordinated by Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado, will gather to refurbish the Galena Ditch, built more than 100 years ago to convey water to area mines. When finished, the new trail segment will give hikers and mountain bikers a connection between the popular Horseshoe Dredge Trailhead, the three forks of the Swan River and the Colorado Trail.

The effort is being coordinated by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in partnership with Breckenridge and Summit County and a few more volunteers are needed. Continue reading

Colorado: Trails grant applications due by Nov. 1

The state of Colorado is taking applications for trails grants.

Last year more about $1.7 million was awarded to build and maintain recreational trails

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Applications for the 2012 Recreational Trails Grants are now available online for local, county and state governments, federal agencies, recreation and metro districts and non-profit organizations that are involved in maintaining Colorado’s diverse system of trails or planning and building new routes.

Funding for the Recreational Trails Program comes from Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Lottery, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Federal Highway Administration.

The 2011-2012 grant application is available at www.parks.state.co.us/Trails/Grants/.  Applications must be received by Colorado State Parks by Nov. 1, 2011 at 5 p.m. The address is Colorado State Parks, State Trails Program, 13787 S. Hwy 85, Littleton, Colo., 80125. The process for gaining approval for funds is the same as last year. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Help wanted on Little Mountain trail project

Two-day project aims to re-route and restore Little Mountain trails

You can show your love for Summit County's lands and trails with some volunteer time this weekend in Breckenridge.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A few more volunteers are needed to help give some of Breckenridge’s Little Mountain trail system some well-deserved TLC. A huge volunteer effort is set for July 23-24, when more than a hundred pairs of helping hands will re-route and restore eroded trail sections to ensure safe and sustainable routes for visitors. Additional volunteers are still needed.

The work runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with check-in at the southeast end of the Stephen C West Ice Arena, along Boreas Pass Road. Volunteers can pre-register at www.voc.org or register on-site. The minimum age to participate is 14. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes, long pants, and bring water. Free camping and food are provided for volunteers, and Saturday evening will include a celebration with a local band. Continue reading

Cucumber Gulch access on BOSAC agenda

Recreational use in Cucumber Gulch is once again on the agenda in Breckenridge, as the town's open space advisory group will consider whether to allow special events on a trail near Josie's Cabin to the overlook.

Changes in the Josie’s Cabin area could warrant permitting group special event use

By Summit Voice

BRECKENRIDGE — A corner of the Cucumber Gulch wetlands that was once relatively peaceful has become much busier with construction of new trails in the area. As a result, the Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission will consider whether to open a trail that descends from Gold Digger/ Interstate to Josie’s Cabin, then ascends to the overlook for special events.

A recreation plan, protective overlay plan and general info on Cucumber Gulch are available here Continue reading

White River forest travel plan delayed again

Map of White River National Forest in Summit County, Colorado.

A section of one of the maps for the White River forest travel plan shows areas proposed for different types of winter use. Click on the map to get links to full-size versions.

Required lynx study submitted for review just last week; status quo on local trails this summer

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Forest Service plan that would address management of trails and roads across the White River National Forest is still on hold pending final review of a lynx study.

The travel management plan has been in the works for eight years. Agency rangers and interested users were anticipating a spring release of the document, with implementation — including new signage — due this summer, but the Forest Service just completed the required lynx study last week and delivered it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Grand Junction for review.

The plan determines if and where new roads will be developed, which old roads will be retired, and where ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles will and will not be allowed. It covers all all 3,000 miles of roads and 1,600 miles of trails on the Forest.

Visit the White River National Forest travel plan web site here, with links to all related documents, including a map for Alternative G, the preferred version of the plan.

Kurt Broderdorp, the federal biologist charged with reviewing the study, said he’s not sure how long it will take for his agency to respond. Forest Service officials now say they may be able to release the travel plan later this summer, perhaps in July or August. Once the final version is approved by the White River forest supervisor, their is still a public comment period and the potential for appeal that could further delay implementation. Continue reading

Forest Service seeks historic trail info from CCC era

The Forest Service is looking for people who may have been part of a Civilian Conservation Corp project building a 54-mile trail between Glenwood Springs and DeBeque.

Rangers want to restore historic trail between Glenwood Springs and Battlement Reservoirs, near DeBeque

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The White River National Forest wants to honor public lands work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps by restoring an historic, 54-mile trail between Glenwood Springs and the Battlement Reservoirs, near DeBeque.

Parts of the trail still exist, but much of it has fallen into disrepair or been abandoned. Before starting on the reconstruction project, the Forest Service wants to hear from anyone who may have worked on the original trail, back in the 1930s and 1940s.

“We would like to hear from the CCC alumni who worked on the White River and perhaps worked on this trail,” said Rifle District Ranger Glenn Adams. “There is a lot we don’t know about the work they did. We don’t know where all the camps were located, for example. If there is someone out there who worked on this project or knows someone who did, we would like to hear from them.”

If you can help document the history of the CCC Trail from 4 Mile Park to the Battlement Reservoirs, especially if you worked on the trail as a part of the CCC, you are urged to contact Glenn Adams, District Ranger for the Rifle Ranger District, at (970) 625-6840, or by mail at 0094 County Road 244, Rifle, CO 81650.

More trail closures at Vail Pass

The U.S. Forest Service has closed more snowmobile trails in the Vail Pass area.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Limited snow continues to pinch snowmobile access at the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, where the Forest Service has closed a few more trails until there’s more snow on the ground.

The closures are intended to prevent damage to vegetation, rangers said. In addition to the popular trail leading to Machine Gun Ridge, Trail number 2, leading to Shrine Bowl, is also closed. Winter roads 9 and 10 are also closed pending more snow.

The Ptarmigan Hill snow play area is also closed. Forest Service rangers will be monitoring conditions daily in order to re-open snow roads and areas as soon as favorable conditions allow.  Please check in with Forest Service rangers at the fee booth for the latest information regarding closures.

Additional questions can be directed to Graham Predeger at (970) 274-9911 or Tyler Kirkpatrick at (970) 376-4317.

More information on the Vail Pass trails, including maps, in online here.

Forest Service trail plan now set for March release

Under a new trail plan now slated for a March release, The Forest Service would no longer designate trails as "closed" to motorized use. Instead, trails will be presumed closed unless specifically marked as open. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

New rules will spell big changes for trail users on national forest lands in Summit County

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Trail users in the high country could see some big changes this summer when the U.S. Forest Service finally unveils its long-awaited travel management plan for the White River National Forest.

Currently, the release date is set for March 2010, but don’t hold your breath, said forest spokesman Pat Thrasher.

“That’s still a soft date,” Thrasher said, acknowledging that there could be additional delays to finalizing a plan that has been in the pipeline for seven years. Among other factors, the White River forest recently lost a mapping specialist who was working on the maps for the new plan. The agency hopes to replace the staffer in time to complete the needed work, but there are no guarantees.

Release of the decision will be followed by a 45-day appeal period. If all goes well, the agency could be changing signs and handing out maps based on the new plan this coming summer.

The trails plan covers about 350 miles of routes in Summit County, including hiking paths, mountain bike trails, motorized routes and national forest roads. Under a draft version of the plan, the agency could add a couple of hundred more miles of authorized trails, though that’s not a for-sure thing until the final decision is released.

Trail management has been in a bureaucratic limbo the past few years, as various user groups wait for the agency to complete the process. Initially, the White River forest had planned to release the travel management plan as part of its overall land-use plan — the guiding document for allocating uses on national forest lands.

The forest plan was finalized in 2002, but top rangers with the agency decided to separate travel planning from land use. Since then, there have been numerous false starts and delays.

Thrasher said the lengthy planning process can be attributed in large part to the need to balance competing interests. Continue reading

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