Grand County Master Trails Plan in the works
February 19, 2015
It's exciting to hear people talk about their trail experiences. I think one of the great things about mountain biking is the excitement it brings and seeing riders light up after going out on a ride or anticipating that next adventure.
There are so many different experiences that mountain bikers have. One may be shredding the tight twisty singletrack on the Arrow Trail or taking in the wildflowers while riding Granby Ranch in the spring time.
I found that excitement just the other night while talking about trails and mountain biking with Scott Linnenburger and Greg Mazu. Scott Linnenburger was recently hired by Headwaters Trails Alliance to finish the Master Trails Plan. Scott also wrote a review of the Grand County trail system a few years ago through a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.
Greg Mazu owns a trail building company, Singletrack Trails. Many of you have ridden some of Greg's handy work at Granby Ranch, Yankee Doodle, Sunset Pink as well as many others.
“The reality is that the world and trails belong to a lot of people, and finding that balance will be the greatest challenge of all.”
One thing that resonated among all of us is a passion for mountain biking and what the future can bring. It was not just the rides we have done, but more of what can change for the better. We have a really good trail system, possibly one of the best in the world, yet it can be a lot better.
The original trail system that was inspired by the Winter Park Fat Tire Society in the early '90s was a trail system of opportunity. The trails and old roads that were scattered around the valley were mapped and marked, creating the foundation of the trail system we know today. Much has changed since the development of the original trail system. Trials that were once open to the public were lost in land exchanges. New trails have been built near the Town of Winter Park, creating a unique and high quality experience.
One key thing that has always been missing is a plan for the future of trails here. The Master Trails Plan is a great step forward in creating that document. Not only will it help determine future growth, it can also determine what trails remain, what can change and what should stay the same.
Doors to funding and grants should open as we will have our first long term plan. Funding is not always about new trail construction but often it is to build a bridge in order to protect a stream, rerouting a section of trail to avoid a sensitive wildlife area or simply to maintain existing trails.
Conversations also lead to what we may have to give up in order to create the best possible experience. Sure we would love to have it all but there will have to be some trade-offs. Some trade-offs will be obvious and others will be controversial. The reality is that the world and trails belong to a lot of people, and finding that balance will be the greatest challenge of all.
Many factors come into play beyond the desires of the various users. You have to add in considerations such as wildlife, botany, archeology, fisheries and others that we may never think of yet are an important part of the equation. Trail vision and creation may seem like a simple process, yet many layers need to be unfolded in order to make it happen.
The first stage of the Master Trails Plan should be completed by the end of June. The next steps will be to determine what trails on that plan can become reality and how to go about making that happen. Moving forward will take the work of a lot of people, though we have few people employed and paid to make this happen.
The more people we can get involved, the more we can accomplish. Take a moment and think of what you can do to create a better mountain bike experience. It would be great to have more people be part of the process and journey. Contact me at the email below for more information.
The next time you hop on your bike, skis etc. give a bit of thought to everything that went into making your time on the trails possible. Then go out and have a great time!
Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park does a weekly group ride on Friday's at 6 p.m. (in the summer). Intermediate and above skill level. Come join in, 970-726-5988.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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