Letter: RMNP responds to snowmobile trail concerns
A recent letter to the editor of the Sky-Hi News expressed concerns about the current closure of the North Supply Access Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. This two-mile snowmobile trail passes through the park on the way to a network of snowmobile trails in the adjacent Arapaho National Forest. Rocky Mountain National Park manages this trail in a manner to provide access while ensuring that the resources and ground underneath are not damaged.
Park staff recognize the importance of this route to snowmobile use in the area. Park rangers work closely with the Grand Lake Trail Groomers to determine when the trail is suitable for opening and when closures are needed. The North Supply Access Trail has long required a minimum of 24 inches of packed snow before it can be open to regular snowmobile access. Experience has shown that when there is insufficient snowpack cover, the trail is no longer suitable for use by snowmobiles due to both damage to snowmobile equipment and the sustainability of the trail.
Although sections of the trail along county roads are in good condition, the first half mile of the trail is on a sun-exposed, south-facing slope. This area is generally the last to have good snow coverage. During this holiday season, the snowpack on the trail in this area has varied from 10 to 13 inches of actual snow depth on the ground, well below levels where the trail can be opened to snowmobile use. While park rangers recognize the inconvenience this closure causes, the higher elevation US Forest Service (USFS) trails can still be accessed by trailering to USFS trailheads.
Park rangers are eager to open this section of trail to snowmobile use when there is sufficient snow cover, which will be great news for park staff and community members alike!
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– Darla Sidles, Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park
Read more about the North Supply Access Trail here:
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