Glenwood area mountain biking potential abounds in new plan | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood area mountain biking potential abounds in new plan

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Bill Hall, from Moscow, Idaho, mountain bikes on Red Hill near Carbondale. The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, in conjunction with the Two Rivers Trails group and Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation, has developed a plan to bring more mountain biking opportunities to the Glenwood area.

Mountain-biking opportunities could expand greatly in the Glenwood Springs area under a new soft-surface trail concept plan that was recently completed.

Included in the new Glenwood area concept-trails plan are Red Mountain and Wulfsohn trail-system improvements, new trails on public land in South Canyon and on Lookout Mountain and a future downhill "gravity" mountain-bike course on Iron Mountain.

The plan was prepared by the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association in conjunction with the Glenwood Springs-based Two Rivers Trails group and the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

It envisions several trail projects that could be planned and constructed over the next five to 10 years in conjunction with the city, private-property owners and the Bureau of Land Management.

The immediate focus will be on improving the Jeanne Golay Trail system on Red Mountain, located on the west side of Glenwood Springs, as well as detailed planning for the South Canyon area.

Both efforts involve city-owned parcels of land in those areas, according to Mike Pritchard, executive director for the biking association.

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The groups engaged the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Trail Solutions using city Conservation Trust funds to create the plan. The process involved public input during a meeting at the Glenwood Springs Community Center in October as well as feedback from an online survey of local users of the many dirt trails that exist in the area.

"As many other communities have already experienced, the benefits of high-quality trails include a healthier and more physically active local community and an increase in the number of visitors and the length of their stay," Pritchard said in a statement.

"The return on investment in community trail systems is a high-value proposition that leads to a vibrant future for local citizens," he said.

The new plan can be viewed at http://www.rfmba.org, including overview maps of the different study areas and narratives describing the opportunities and potential challenges to trails development.

The plan includes six specific concepts that will need to be further planned and developed. They include:

• Improving the Jeanne Golay Trail to provide a continuous, two-way-travel, multi-use trail from the trailhead to the cross at the top of the property.

• Creation of a system of high-quality recreation trails on city-owned land in South Canyon, with potential for future expansion onto adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands, including a possible link to Red Mountain trails.

• Expanding the Wulfsohn Mountain Park singletrack trail system to include a beginner-friendly loop adjacent to the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

• Improved trail connections in the Lookout Mountain area, including a new trail extending from city-owned property near the Doc Holliday trailhead to the existing Forest Hollow and Boy Scout trails. The new trail would utilize lands managed by the city, the bureau and the White River National Forest.

• A conceptual "gravity zone" using both private and public lands on Iron Mountain below the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park that could be accessed by private shuttles utilizing the Transfer Trail.

• Additional development of the proposed Glenwood Springs Bike Park, which has been envisioned for about 6 acres between Glenwood Springs High School and the Roaring Fork River.

Any of the concepts outlined in the plan would need to be approved by the appropriate land managers and funding entities, including the city, Pritchard said. The City Council also will be asked to endorse the plan, he said.

"Initial detailed trail planning and trail improvement projects will focus on lands owned by the city," he said. "Conceptual trails proposed on federal lands will require environmental assessment or other stringent approvals processes that will ensure proposed trails are an appropriate improvement or expansion of the existing recreation trail system."

Detailed planned of the various trail projects will also require additional funding. Pritchard said the groups will apply for additional funding from the city Conservation Trust Fund, and from Garfield County's LiveWell mini grant program.

The groups also plan to meet with the Glenwood Springs Parks and Rec and River commissions in the coming weeks asking for their endorsement and support for the next steps. Those meetings will be open to the public.

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