Grand County trails plan requires input from users, communities | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County trails plan requires input from users, communities

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

We just had our monthly Grand Mountain Bike Alliance meeting. Summer is just a short few months away and so much is happening that it seems like a whirlwind of activity.

You may have read some of the past articles that touched on the Master Trails Plan for Grand County. The Master Trails Plan is moving forward very quickly and should be on track to be completed in June. This is just one huge step in a long journey of designing and developing a better trail system in Winter Park and Grand County for all users.

Creating a Master Trails Plan for Grand County is just the beginning. Implementing the plan is the far larger task. There will be a multitude of challenges that will have to be met. Just a few of those are what changes do users want on the current trails? Where is the best alignment for those trails? Which current trails may need to go away in order to replace them with a better experiences? What is the impact on wildlife and plant life (these are some of the most important considerations)? Are there any archeological sites or finds to avoid? How will the projects be funded? How will the trails be maintained?

As you can see desiring trails doesn't mean that they will become reality.

One key part of the plan is not just the quality of the trail system, but how does the envisioned trail system connect towns and communities? Most of us want to have trails near where we live and work. The Winter Park area is fortunate to have public land very close to towns and communities. There has also been an active effort to provide a better trail experience not only from Winter Park and Fraser but throughout the national forest. That is not the case for all communities in Grand County.

For instance there currently is not a trail that connects the Town of Granby to public lands. Is a trail to connect Granby to public lands and trails part of the Master Trails Plan? If not, how would that become part of the plan and how would that be communicated? To my knowledge this may be one of the greatest challenges in future trail planning. Granby is surrounded by private land and the closest public land is on the east side of the Fraser River behind Granby Ranch.

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Kremmling is in an unique position to have incredible trail access directly from town. What is being done to improve that access or possibly expand it? Public land is located just north and east of town. How do you currently access that area and how would you like to access that in the future? If you desire better trail access, what can be done to meet that goal? How would you access public land south of the Colorado River? What are the options to reach the multi use trails around Wolford Mountain Reservoir from town? I'm sure you have questions and thoughts of your own.

Those are just a few examples of some of the obstacles and possibilities.

What may be the most important part of this process is our community involvement. Not just to envision a trail system but more importantly become involved to follow through and make it happen. Grand County can be a community or it can be a series of islands all with their unique needs and goals. Which scenario do you think best reflects your view of how our county works together? A true trail system for the county should be one that ties communities together by working together. In order to make this happen each community has to become involved and look at the whole picture rather than what immediately impacts their geographic area. Otherwise, little may happen. Is your community involved or do you know?

Headwaters Trails Alliance is our local multiuse organization that is tasked to completing the Master Trails Plan. If you would like to become part of the process you can contact them through their website at http://headwaterstrails.com/.

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.

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