The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners approved the Parks & Open Space $1.5 million capital improvement and stewardship budget for 2022 at a public hearing on Dec. 7, 2021. These projects range from trails and related facilities; to stream, forest, and wetland improvements; to agriculture and water infrastructure; and to improvements for public outreach and education. Many of these projects are efforts with partner contributions and/or supported with state and federal grants, enabling the county to leverage open space sales tax revenues with an additional $2.8 million for a total project budget of over $4 million, excluding staff time.
Here are the trail-related projects:
Tolland Ranch Trail
In January, 2015, Boulder County partnered with the Colorado State Forest Service and Great Outdoors Colorado, with coordination by The Conservation Fund, to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 3,334 acres of the Tolland Ranch property near Eldora Ski Area in western Boulder County and Gilpin County. The acquisition includes a 6.5-mile long trail easement. In 2018 a Class III Cultural Resource Survey of the trail corridor was completed. The purchase agreement stipulates that the trail must be open to the public no later than 2024. BCPOS submitted and was awarded a GOCO trail construction grant in fall 2019; a contractor has been hired and began construction in 2021. Project goal is to increase trail connectivity by adding six miles of new soft surface trails connecting two USFS properties between West Magnolia and Jenny Creek at Eldora Ski Area. Learn more.
Heil Valley Ranch Parking Lot Capacity Increase
The pandemic accentuated trends of increased visitor use, and Heil Valley Ranch is one of the parks with highest visitor use. The project goal is to increase parking capacity by designing and constructing a new lot on the south end of the property near Left Hand Canyon Road, at the former site of Bud and Velma Heil’s home. Boulder County hopes to design for 20 spaces if the space (and survey) allows. Expansion of parking will mitigate law enforcement activities and maintenance issues with illegal overflow parking.
Complete construction implementation of the Coalton Trail Redesign plans and specifications in 2022. The Coalton Trail was originally part of Boulder County Road 67, which was partially vacated and abandoned in 1996 and converted to a trail. Coalton Trail is approximately 2.7 miles long and approximately 8 feet wide surfaced with road base. The trail is located roughly in the center of the old road right of way, which was fifty feet wide. The trail has functioned relatively well since it was converted from a County road in the late 1990s but there is one section that is steep and does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Boulder County’s Regional Trail or the Rocky Mountain Greenway standards. This steep section provides a challenge for many trail visitors and often erodes, resulting in high maintenance costs. Learn more.
Rock Creek Trail Along 104th Street
Connecting the Coal Creek Trail with Rock Creek Farm via the S. 104th Street corridor is a high priority for Louisville and Lafayette. This 2.1-mile connection will provide access from these two communities to Rock Creek Farm and its trail system through several jointly owned open space properties. Louisville is leading this effort and has secured grant funding to complete Phase I in 2022. The three agency partners are seeking additional grant funding for Phase 2. Learn more.
LoBo Trail Resurfacing
Portions of the LoBo Trail that connects Longmont to Boulder were constructed approximately 20 years ago and have received minimal maintenance over that span. There have been multiple reports of the trail being below grade and after precipitations ponding forms in numerous locations, and in winter patches of ice are created. Over the past several years, Boulder County has received numerous requests to improve the surface of the trail so ponding does not occur after precipitation. Resurfacing these portions with crusher fines (a finely-crushed stone mix) will bring the trails back to standard and will minimize water ponding/freezing after precipitation events. Locations that will be resurfaced are the Cottontail Trail from N. 71st St – Boulder OSMP Cottontail junction just south of HWY 52, from N. 79th St – Niwot Road and from 63rd St underpass to the Twin Lakes dog park area. Learn more.