Kristen Lodge: Group forming to preserve Fraser Valley bike trails
October 13, 2011
Do you care about mountain biking trails in Grand County? Do you want to see trails preserved and maintained?
Keith Sanders and Peggy Smith are long-time Fraser residents concerned about the future of the trail system. They are forming a new group for interested citizens and outdoor-minded people with the hope to create a strong voice for mountain biking trails.
“This group will not compete with Headwaters Trails Alliance or the Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails but will complement their respective missions and aim to get more trail users involved,” Sanders says.
Sanders and Smith developed the idea of a mountain bike user group when they realized the current trail system doesn’t meet the needs of locals and visitors.
“We have lost many miles of mountain biking trails since the trail system was developed, such as Vasquez Pass, Bottle Pass, USFS 135, and the area between Ranch Creek and Devil’s Thumb Park above USFS 128” says Sanders. “These trails were lost due to land exchange, wilderness designation, and other varying reasons.”
One frustrating event this summer was the decommissioning of trails by the Forest Service. Many mountain bikers didn’t even know they were to be decommissioned; they found out the hard way, on the trail.
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Then, there was the accidental decommissioning of the mountain bike trails D4 and D3 in the Vasquez Creek area.
“D4 and D3 were decommissioned just days before the Winter Park Resort mountain bike series finale, King of the Rockies” says Sanders. “The King of the Rockies race is an internationally known race that attracts participants from all over the U.S. and foreign countries. It also generates substantial press.”
Days before the race, mountain bikers who were pre-riding the course called Sanders to find out what happened. He drove out to the trail, saw that it had been destroyed, and called the Forest Service. The Forest Service addressed the issue but the race had to be rerouted immediately by the Winter Park Competition Center working with the Forest Service.
Sanders wants users and trail lovers to be part of the decision process in order to be proactive in the planning process instead of finding out when it’s too late.
“Many trail users might not be aware that Phase 1 in Tabernash was scheduled to be decommissioned in August. Meetings with the Forest Service have opened dialog and bought some time but the possibility of closure still remains. The trail could still be closed and it will take a commitment from the community to keep it open.”
Sanders wants to create a master trail plan for the Upper Fraser Valley.
“We are in a unique position to be able to suggest trails and request how the system can be managed,” he says. “Currently, there is no good communication that ties the majority of the mountain bikers to what is happening with the trails,” says Sanders. “By attending this group meeting, and becoming active, mountain bike users will have input, become part of mountain biking’s future in the valley, and know what is going on with the trails.”
Mountain bikers and trail users are encouraged to attend the meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Beaver Village Lodge in Winter Park.
Keith Sanders can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the meeting.
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