HTA recognizes connectivity, maintenance as issues to Kremmling, Hot Sulphur trails
January 8, 2019
The Headwaters Trails Alliance is finalizing a master plan for trails in the Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs area to be used as a guiding document for future projects, as well as to identify opportunities and concerns.
HTA sought input from each community in order to develop the master plans and hopes to finalize the Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs plan this month, according to HTA executive director Meara McQuain. This plan is part of the larger update to the Grand County trails master plan, which is broken into three subareas. The first is the Fraser Valley area, which was completed in 2015, the second is Granby and Grand Lake and the third is Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs.
The organization received a $20,000 grant from Colorado State Trails to complete the subareas two and three master plans.
"Without living there and having really solid experience there, we needed a little more time to reach out to more stakeholders in the area to find out more details, specific projects or trail connectors that they're looking for," McQuain said. "So, I definitely feel like we have a more complete picture."
Thanks to feedback HTA has received, McQuain said they were able to include a number of opportunities and concerns in the master plan, which will help guide future projects.
Some of the concerns in the area include signage and maintenance of trails, a dense mosquito population and trail connectivity.
Erik Woog, HTA board member and owner of Alpine Motor Sports in Kremmling, said many users have identified trail connectivity and maintenance as a top priority.
"There's most definitely a lack of continuity on a lot of the multi-use trails in the area; there are minor connectors that have problems," Woog said. "The primary access trail that comes from the town to access the BLM lands goes through a state land board parcel and that trail needs some maintenance."
McQuain said one of the barriers to trail connectivity in the area is that the trails cover land managed by multiple agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Because of the multiple land agencies, the trail inventory in the area is incomplete and it is hard to estimate how many miles of trails there are in the area, she said. However, the master plan helps address this problem by mapping the trails.
"If (a problem) is on paper with a more comprehensive plan, people are more likely to look at it as something that they can all get their heads around and start to work together collaboratively to fix the problem," McQuain said.
From there, other concerns, like signage and maintenance, can be more easily addressed. It also helps with communicating closures for wildlife in the winter, McQuain said.
One of the opportunities for the area, she said, is the abundant and beautiful open spaces and public lands. Another is that many of the trails are multi-use, so both motorized and non-motorized users can enjoy the area.
"I think if we can promote trail usage over there, especially to get some of the congested areas from here, some of those people flowing westward, it's not only good for dispersed use, but it also promotes economic development there," McQuain said.
Woog also highlighted the east shore trail around Wolford, which he said "offers an experience that is unique in the county, both to motorized and non-motorized."
Both Woog and McQuain also hope the plan can help with the county-wide goal of better connectivity in between trail systems.
"The other is obviously the county tie-in, (…) that we have better continuity between communities for trails and I know that's some work that HTA is pretty committed to continuing," Woog said.
Overall, the master plan is a starting place for future projects, since McQuain explained many grants require projects to have been previously identified in order to qualify for funds. For example, the Fraser Valley master plan helped lead to the Trails Smart Sizing project by the Forest Service.
"The hope is, once we adopt the plans in subarea two and subarea three, that we'll be able to work with the Forest Service and the BLM and the municipalities to come up with some larger-scale plans to change those issues and improve the recreation experience and the environmental sustainability for those areas," she said.
Beyond that, McQuain said she hopes having a master plan to reference helps strengthen partnerships with the municipalities and land agencies, as well as promote stewardship of the land and trails.
"One of the top five goals for HTA in the Kremmling area is to promote stewardship and get the community or the high school involved in clean-ups or signage installation or something that would help better protect and educate people," she said.