CITY OF BOULDER
OPEN SPACE AND MOUNTAIN PARKS
2520 55th Street
Boulder, CO 80301
June 12, 2019
Public Comment on the OSMP DRAFT Master Plan
To Whom It May Concern:
On behalf of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) we wish to express our support for this first DRAFT the Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan. The focus areas make sense; the strategies are reasonable; and we believe that the voice of the public has been adequately captured in the DRAFT document. There are a few specific aspects of the plan we wish to comment on and share our perspectives, which is not intended to disparage the fine work this DRAFT plan represents.
Ecosystem Health and Resilience
BMA members care about the health of natural ecosystems here and everywhere. Outdoor recreation depends on vibrant, diverse, beautiful nature. Mountain bikers want to be in nature, not on the highway, and not in gravel pits. We share the values and approve of the actions planned in this section of the DRAFT plan.
For Strategy HER.5, “Manage entire ecosystems using a holistic approach to planning,” it is important to recognize that good goals sometimes conflict. For example, a sustainable trail with grade reversals transports less water, causes less soil erosion, and needs less maintenance, but will occupy more surface area than a steep eroding trail down the fall-line.
Strategy HER.6 “Reduce Human Disturbance” is focusing on “impacts from noise pollution, light pollution, and adjacent development on wildlife and sensitive habitat areas.” Those are real, important issues that too often cause emotions to boil over because it’s always the other person who has a greater impact. In order to learn the significance of the different elements of human disturbance and their impact, we would like to see more emphasis on data driven studies that reduce the risk for biased or political measures being taken.
Inspiring Responsible Recreation
A great choice of words rarely seen before! We believe strongly that bicycling can inspire people to love and care about nature.
However, the DRAFT plan says almost nothing about the experiences of people through recreation while almost exclusively talking about facilities and infrastructure. This is our one major disappointment with the DRAFT plan. The Master Plan should speak to positive recreation experiences as a management goal, because it cannot be assumed that the strategies that are outlined will produce better experiences as a side effect.
Another aspect of recreation management of great importance and also not mentioned at all in the DRAFT plan is conflict among recreation users. Many Boulder hikers do not want to share trails with cyclists, ever, anywhere. But in many other locales trail sharing is effective, expected, and working well. Much more could be done in Boulder in terms of outreach and trail user education as is being lived by the Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol on a daily basis.
Strategy RRSE.5 will “Reduce the trail maintenance backlog”. We are pleased to see the recent progress with regard to trail building and maintenance. Trails are assets and need to be properly maintained so our great-grandchildren can enjoy the same high-quality user experiences. BMA is committed to continue being a reliable partner in organizing volunteer trail building events that allow people to give back to the community for the benefit of every trail user.
Community Connection, Education and Inclusion
We love this section of the DRAFT plan and appreciate OSMP talking about the importance of connecting people with nature.
We feel that Strategy CCEI.7 “Connect youth to nature” is quite relevant to bicycling. Many kids think that hiking is boring but love mountain biking. The growth and strength of High School mountain biking has introduced the next generation of trail stewards to OSMP lands.
Strategy FS.5, “Target Acquisitions” is obvious, but not transparent. The plan does not reveal acquisition criteria, and we would like to see recreation be a strong value among them. Habitat conservation is certainly on top of the list, but there are parcels of lesser ecological value that would allow for excellent recreational trail systems. There are also many places where private property blocks access from public roads to potential or existing trails, and where just a small acquisition or easement would allow a trail connection that otherwise is not possible.
As for the current discussion on an OSMP tax on the November 2019 ballot, we feel that the goals and strategies spelled out in the Master Plan are destined to fail if 30% of OSMP’s revenue were to disappear. Adequate funding of the department and its mission is existential for the success of the Master Plan and cannot be omitted from it.
On behalf of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, I would like to thank OSMP staff and consultants for their hard work, professionalism, and their ability to listen to the public while maintaining a civil and productive atmosphere. We felt that the public process we were allowed to engage in was more open and transparent than most in recent history, which is truly remarkable. We worked very hard to provide thoughtful and constructive input, and we can tell it has been received with open ears and an open mind. We appreciate the opportunity to shape how our public lands are managed for the decades to come, and we look forward to completing OSMP’s first ever Master Plan.
Hans Joachim Preiss
Boulder Mountainbike Alliance