A new trail in South Canyon, from the ground up

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
John Colson/Post IndependentA side-dump truck deposits a load of gravel as part of the ongoing LoVa Trail project near the South Canyon interchange at I-70.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Construction crews are busily building a 1,850-foot-long bicycling trail along Interstate 70, heading eastward from the South Canyon Bridge, as part of a much larger trail project meant to stretch to the Mesa county line.

Called the Lower Valley Trail (or LoVa Trail for short), the trail is a project of the Lower Valley Trails Group headed up by Larry Dragon of Glenwood Springs, whose day job is as a professional mediator.

The $775,000 trail, according to a written statement supplied by Dragon, will include about 1,300 feet of retaining wall between the trail surface and the slope leading down to the Colorado River.

The 8-foot trail surface will be paralleled by two dirt strips about 2-feet wide, and separated from both the highway and the river by parallel fence structures.

Work began on the section of trail about three weeks ago, and should be finished by mid-November, according to David Heyl, president of Heyl Construction, which is in charge of building the trail.

Also on the project are the Schmeuser-Gordon-Meyer engineering firm, which designed the trail; the Slaton Brothers wall-building company, and the A-1 traffic control company.

Dragon said that next spring, once the winter snows melt, he plans to assemble a crew of volunteers to build pathways from the trail down to the river, for hiking, fishing and other recreational activities.

According to Dragon, the work on the trail is proceeding as cash becomes available, and he expects to be able to build another length of the project in 2012 or so, although he was said the decision has yet to be made about exactly where the next length of trail is to be built.

In the end, he said, the trail is to extend from West Glenwood to the border shared by Garfield and Mesa counties, following the I-70 and Colorado River corridor the whole way.

The funding for the project comes from a collaboration among LoVa; Garfield County; the City of Glenwood Springs; the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Parks Trails Program.