Dear Land Managers and Elected Officials,

The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) would like to express concern over Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s (CPW) announcement that they will not be pursuing the long-desired Eldo to Walker multi-use trail. This critical regional trail connection is mentioned in 8 planning documents including Governor Hickenlooper’s “16 Trails in 2016” Project as a viable trail to connect the plains to the mountains in Boulder County.

In 2013, staff from Boulder County Parks & Open Space (BCPOS), City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), and CPW began the Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Trail Feasibility Study, and in 2018 the agencies began the public engagement portion of the process.

While BMA is disappointed with CPW’s decision, we are more concerned that a robust, transparent public process was not followed to reach this ruling.

Our biggest concern is that agencies and the community were participating in a process to address park congestion and to ensure equitable access, and before the process was ever approved let alone implemented, CPW made a unilateral decision to not pursue the trail. This is but one of many problems with the public process surrounding this trail.

  1. In March 2019, CPW put the trail feasibility public process on hold to conduct a Visitor Use Management Plan (VUMP).
  2. CPW said that the VUMP process would not address the trail nor make any decisions regarding the trail.
  3. On Friday, April 23, 2021 CPW told the VUMP taskforce that the draft VUMP would be released on April 26, 2021 and also informed the taskforce that the Eldo to Walker trail would not be pursued.
  4. In the draft VUMP, CPW referenced a decision about the trail on page 18, “Even as CPW works toward decreasing and/or dispersing visitation in the coming years we will not add the multi-use connection to ECSP.
  5. CPW did not have any consultation with BCPOS or OSMP on this decision, the agencies were informed 2 days before the taskforce of this decision.
  6. The Eldo to Walker trail feasibility planning process was never put through a full public process, essential to the management of our public lands.
  7. CPW entered the planning process as part of a multi-agency partnership, critical to making decisions on a landscape scale, and broke that partnership by not including the other partners in this decision.
  8. CPW’s draft VUMP has not been approved, nor ANY of the strategies implemented. It is premature to make a decision about the trail without due diligence. (The 2020 pilot shuttle program was initiated and run by Boulder County Transportation.)

BMA would like to see a new process surrounding this trail brought before the public, one in which supporters of the trail have a means and process of talking with the residents of Eldorado Springs. The intent of our amazing public lands is to provide all people with the same opportunities for access and decisions should not be allowed to be made by a small minority of people who have the privilege of having a state park in their backyard.

As it stands, a non-motorized, soft-surface, multi-use trail that would be open to people riding bicycles — connecting the cities and towns on the plains to the foothills and mountains — remains an unmet need.

Sincerely,

BMA Board of Directors

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