Grand County news briefs: Sulphur Trails project plans released by Forest Service | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County news briefs: Sulphur Trails project plans released by Forest Service

Environment

Sulphur Trails project plans released by Forest Service

The US Forest Service has developed a draft decision on the Sulphur Ranger District's Trails Smart Sizing Project.

District officials are seeking public input on the draft decision. Citizens have until April 3, 2017 to submit any written objections.

If approved in its current form the draft decision will approve up to 18 new miles of trail construction in the Winter Park and Fraser area and see improved signage and enhanced trailheads. Project plans include rerouting and rebuilding trails, decommissioning around 2.6 miles of system trails and any social trails, conversion of a one-mile section of road into a single-track trail and narrowing of five miles of non-motorized trails to single track.

The project plans to open around 2.5 miles of additional single-track trails to motorbike use and will expand the district's single-track motorized trial system to 13 miles total. Under the draft decision, bicycle use will only be allowed on designated system trails across the district and the plan restricts winter biking to roughly 9.5 miles of trail.

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The project is the result of years of collaborative work between a number of local groups including the Headwaters Trails Alliance (HTA). In 2012 the alliance began designing a plan to improve the trail experience in the district for modern trail users.

"This project is the culmination of the first phase of the HTA's master trails planning effort," a press release from the Forest Service states. "The Forest Service has taken concepts and ideas for a portion of the area identified in the HTA Master Trails Plan and refined these to address concerns for wildlife, watershed and other National Forest values."

Sulphur District Ranger Jon Morrissey explained the goal of the project is to, "improve the trail system, not only for the public that uses the trail system but also for the wildlife that uses the Forest." Morrissey said the draft decision will improve and modernize the trail system near Fraser and Winter Park while, "minimizing impacts to streams and wildlife by choosing more appropriate trail locations."

If finalized the project will be completed over a series of phases over the next five to 10 years. The complete draft decision, maps, final environmental analysis and information about the objection process are available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/SulphurTrails.

Sports

Lady Panthers advance to next round of League basketball

The Colorado Frontier League Basketball Tournament got underway last week as the Middle Park Panthers took to the court to battle opponents for the chance to advance to regional playoffs.

The action kicked off on Thursday Feb. 16 with the Panther boys taking on the Jefferson Saints in Granby. The men of Middle Park trailed Jefferson through three-quarters but managed to rally in the fourth and eked out a hard fought victory defeating the Saints 65-62.

On Saturday, the boys headed down to Denver to take on the Denver School of Science and Technology Stapleton Knights. Unfortunately the boys were overmatched against the Knights and found themselves unable to keep up with their opponents. The Panther men fell to Stapleton 40-90. The loss marks the end of the basketball season for the boys team who wrapped things up with an overall record of 7-14.

The lady Panthers also hit the hardwood last weekend for league play. So far this year the Panther girls have posted dominating performances and sport a 15-5 overall record including a 9-3 league record, making them one of the top four teams in the league. As such the ladies got a first-round bye for the league tournament.

The ladies squared off against the Sheridan Rams Saturday Feb. 18 at the Middle Park gymnasium for the quarterfinal round of League play. The Panther's fell behind the Rams in the first quarter of the game 9-12 but rallied in the second and continued to control the pace of action eventually defeating Sheridan 58-37.

The leading scorer for the Panthers was senior Haley Weimer who tallied 19 points. Bailey Martin followed her with 11 points while seniors Claire Luque and Linneya Gardner recorded 9 and 8 points respectively.

The lady Panther's now move on to League semi finals at 6 p.m. this Thursday at The Academy High School where they will take on the Bennett Tigers. If they can best Bennett the Panthers will take on the winner of the Platte Canyon versus Academy game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening. If the ladies lose to the Tigers they will play the loser of the Platte Canyon – Academy game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Panther alpine ski team competes at Eldora

The Middle Park Panthers Alpine Ski Team wrapped up their second to last competition of the regular season last week at Eldora Mountain Resort just outside of Nederland.

The Panther boys brought home a fourth-place finish while the ladies secured third place. They competed against students from seven different regional schools.

Leading the way for Middle Park ladies last week was senior Abby Wollen who took home a second place overall finish in the ladies giant slalom event. Ryleigh Sutcliffe was Middle Park's second best competitor in the giant slalom with her 25th place finish. Senior Maddy Hill finished not far behind her in 27th place. Bixby Daugherty (33rd) and Nicole Mitchell (45th) rounded out Middle Park's top five finishers in giant slalom. Also competing for the Panthers in giant slalom was Bianka Gasparac (49th) and Mackenzie DePlata (50th) and Emma Belew-LeDue. A total of 55 ladies competed in the giant slalom at Eldora.

The Panther boys squad was anchored by freshman Chris O'Rear who took 7th place in the giant slalom event. Senior Liam Fuqua was Granby's second best boys skier last week securing himself 26th place. Ricky Mills followed behind him finishing 33rd. Freshmen Daniel Boog and Sam Parker were Middle Park's fourth and fifth best competitors last week taking 47th and 51st place respectively. Rounding out the remainder of the Middle Park men's team were Jack O'Rear (59th) and Elliot Shaw (65th). A total of 72 men competed at Eldora.

The Panthers will look to finish out the season as they head to the State Alpine Ski Competition tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 23. The State meet will be held at the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort. Go Panthers.

Business

The Perk Coffee Company lifts spirits

The Perk Coffee Company in Winter Park is showing appreciation for the men and women that operate ski lifts. The Perk has developed a "Be A Hero" card system that can be purchased in their shop. The purchaser will give the card to a lift operator, or "lifty," of their choice, or simply drop the card off at their favorite lift. The card costs the price of one cup of coffee. The lifty can then redeem the card for a cup of coffee at The Perk.

"We love our lifts," The Perk's statement reads. "Without them we wouldn't ski. Plain and simple. We also know just how cold it gets here in Winter Park. What's better than a hot cup of coffee on a cold day? Not a lot. In a perfect world we would be able to make a cup of coffee and take it to a lifty without it getting cold, but we can't."

The Perk came up with the next best way to keep the liftys warm and well-caffeinated.

"We started this at the beginning of ski season and have sold a couple hundred of them," said Jayson Harris, owner of The Perk. "Winter Park Resort came and bought a bunch of them and gave them out to their employees which was really cool to see them not only support their employees in that way, but also support a local business like The Perk. To say the least, we have been overwhelmed with the response. It's an easy way to pay it forward and make someone's day."

Government

An update on affordable housing in Winter Park

Winter Park housing coordinator John Crone gave an update to the Winter Park Town Council during its meeting on Feb. 21 about the affordable housing program. Crone said the town's system seems to be working well, and they are receiving constant applications for the housing waitlist. Winter Park currently has several affordable housing projects in development and has been discussing strategies for their housing process for many months. The affordable housing waitlist application is available on the town website.

Megan Ledin, executive director for the Grand Foundation, discussed an upcoming donor advised fund that will assist affordable housing seekers with its process of moving in once they find a place. Ledin said the fund would be able to help the local workforce obtain affordable housing by assisting with their move-in fees, such as first and last months rent and/or security deposits. Many landlords require move-in fees, especially in mountain towns, and the local workforce often struggles to come up with the lump sum required to gain housing.

The board passed a motion to move forward with a memorandum of understanding that will be discussed further at a later time.

Compiled from staff reports.

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