Summit County: Frey Gulch restoration begins

Construction of new dirt bike trails also under way

The Forest Service and volunteer partners are simultaneously building new dirt bike trails and closing forest roads in the Tenderfoot Mountain area.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is implementing restoration plans associated with approval of the new off-road motorcycle trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain.

The trail system, long a local point of contention, was approved last year based on a compromise agreement among stakeholders. The Forest Service has already started building part of the trail, with new single-track visible just a few feet above, and running parallel to Straight Creek Road.

This summer, Tenderfoot Mountain Road (#66.2B) in Frey Gulch will be closed and rehabilitated in order to improve water quality and improved habitat for fish and wildlife. The restoration of Frey Gulch was included as a condition the trail system permit.

The popular road up the gulch near Keystone has long been pouring tons of sediment into the small drainage. According to the Forest Service, the stream is currently in a diminished stream health class and fine sediment is contributing to a loss of pool and spawning habitat. Rehabilitation of the road will stabilize soils and minimize active and future sediment delivery to Frey Gulch.

The road accesses a part of the White River National Forest that’s zoned as an important movement corridor for wildlife, including mountain lions and threatened lynx. Tenderfoot Mountain is home to a residential elk herd that uses this area year round.

.“Restoration of this road will provide increased availability of habitat for all wildlife species including important prey species for Canada lynx.” said Ashley Nettles, District Wildlife Biologist.

The road will be closed and rehabilitated using heavy equipment and hand work. The compacted soil will be broken up or “ripped” to allow native vegetation to re-establish in the road corridor. Soil amendments will be added to the ripped road bed to increase nutrient availability to native vegetation. Additionally, native plant seeding and tree planting will occur within the road bed in order to facilitate forest growth.  Steep sections will be re-contoured to deter erosion.

The road closure will affect hunting access in the fall.  To offset impacts, Road 66.2A will be opened from September 1 to November 23 to full sized vehicles which can be driven about one mile and gain about 1,000 feet in elevation.  From that point, ATVs can be driven another mile to Tenderfoot Mountain (11,441 feet). This will allow for limited motor vehicle access for hunters. ATVs have a maximum width of 50 inches.

An Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) grant-funded 4-person crew will build about six miles of trail this summer with help from Summit County Off-Road Riders, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, National Forest Foundation and the Colorado Statewide OHV crew.

For additional information, contact the Dillon Ranger District at 970-468-5400.


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