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Meeting set to consider new trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Staff Report

Rocky Mountain National Park has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed Multiuse Trail that would roughly parallel the road network on the east side of the park.

The purpose of this proposed trail system is to connect with planned multiuse trails in the Estes Valley and enhance multimodal connections to existing visitor use areas in the park and provide connections to the seasonal shuttle system within and outside of the park. Self-propelled transportation may include bicycling, walking, running, use of baby strollers, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

The EA presents three alternatives: a no-action alternative (Alternative A) and two action alternatives (Alternatives B and C). The action alternatives propose the development of new multiuse trails, connecting to existing points of interest throughout the project corridor, including shuttle bus stops, visitor facilities, campgrounds, and overlooks. Alternative B is 15.3 miles in length and predominantly follows the road corridors of U.S. 34, U.S. 36, and Bear Lake Road. Alternative C is the proposed roadside and overland trail, 14.2 miles in length, and would generally follow the same road corridors as Alternative B with sections of overland trail near Horseshoe Park and Beaver Meadows.

A preferred alternative has not been identified in the EA. The park will identify a preferred alternative after considering comments submitted during the public comment period. The final decision could include building none (the no-action alternative), some, or the entire proposed multiuse trail, and may be a combination of alternatives B and C. If the decision is made to build the multiuse trail, it will likely be many years before it becomes a reality as no funding has been identified at this time to construct it.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 20, between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Estes Park Museum, 200 Fourth Street, Estes Park. Information will be provided about the EA and park staff and the park’s consultant will be available to answer questions. The park will provide a short overview of the project beginning at 6:15 p.m. However, the public may drop in at any time during the meeting to learn more about the project.

A copy of the Multiuse Trail Plan/Environmental Assessment EA is available on-line at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo.

The park is inviting written public comments regarding the Multiuse Trail Plan EA and the proposed alternatives. Written comments can be given to park staff at the meeting on Aug.20, by mail to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO 80517, or online at the website listed above. Comments are requested by Sept. 10.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


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