Grand Lake parks plan includes new trails and better access |

Grand Lake parks plan includes new trails and better access

GRAND LAKE – Taking into account a parks survey that was conducted from December to January, in which 187 respondents shared their views about what recreational amenities the town should consider, a six-member committee appointed in February settled on 44 pages of recommendations for parks and trails in the town.

From those recommendations, some of the “low-hanging fruit” will likely be taken up this year, said Grand Lake Town Planner Abby Jo Wittman, such as improved trails signage and the creation of six in-town walking trails that stem from the town park. A little-known slice of public property accessed off of Cairns Avenue may also get some TLC.

Used mostly for fishing access, the 10,000 square-foot lot owned by the town boasts two public benches facing an unobstructed view of Mount Craig. A portable toilet and chained access mark the entrance to the lot, which the parks committee noted are far from welcoming. New signage, shore improvements, a fenced-in portable toilet, a picnic table and a non-motorized boat dock could be completed this season, Wittman said. The park’s proposed name? “Mountain View Park.”

But larger projects recommended in the “parks, trails and open space draft master plan” – such as a dog park, a trail around Grand Lake, amphitheater and fire ring, and closure of Lake Avenue to vehicles during summer weekends – need more public buy-in, Wittman said.

A younger demographic especially lacked participation in the parks survey. Of the 186 people who filled out the parks and recreation survey, less than half were Grand Lake primary homeowners, and only 10 people under the age of 25 responded, with the majority of survey-takers older than 55.

The most desired recreational activities among respondents were hiking, walking and snowshoe trails, with little support for more active town features such as a skateboard park or BMX terrain park. Motorized boating was the third most popular activity among residents.

As many as 83 percent of respondents desired walking trails originating from downtown, with improved shoulders along streets. And 81 percent of survey takers said they supported a possible future trail around Grand Lake. Support also ran high for a non-motorized trail from the downtown to the recreation district, a trail from the downtown to Rocky Mountain National Park and an East Shore Trail connection from Grand Lake to the town of Granby.

Although 64 percent of respondents said they would not use a dog park, the total number of respondents that live in town – 73 – said they would use a dog park, with 42 percent of those saying they would use it at least once weekly. In response, the parks committee has suggested the 1.6-acre circular area near the Alva B. Adam Tunnel as appropriate for a fenced-in dog park, or secondarily, Pioneer Park, a little-used park located south of the fire station and west of the Grand Lake Elementary School.

Pedestrian access on Lake Avenue next to the lakeshore was deemed a positive amenity, with 70 percent of respondents in support of it and 55 percent of respondents willing to take the next step of closing down Lake Avenue to auto traffic in summers.

And a terrain park? Despite survey results that lacked support for one, the parks master plan committee suggested Pioneer Park near the fire district building as an appropriate location for a possible “Mountain Bike Terrain Park,” constructed of mounds of dirt and boulders.

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