Eldo to walker
Connecting the plains to the mountains
Connecting the plains to the mountains
Eldo to Walker
The Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Multi-Use Connector Trail is a long sought-after plains to mountains singletrack trail. This 4+ mile connection would allow mountain bikers to ride from Boulder to Walker Ranch and beyond and is an important piece of the Indian Peaks Traverse.
The concept of this trail began over twenty years ago and has been mentioned as an important connector in eight planning documents*
April 23, 2021 BMA received the news that Colorado Parks & Wildlife “…will not be adding the multi-use connection to the Eldo-Walker trail. Park operations cannot support building and maintaining a new segment of trail or increasing visitation for another recreational use causing exacerbated safety concerns on the congested park road.”
BMA is outraged at this shortsighted, unwise, anti-bike decision handed down by a land public land manager whose mandate is to “…provide enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.”
To our members we say: We are NOT done with the fight for this critical and long promised trail access in Boulder County – stay tuned as we regroup and plan our next steps to see this “The Colorado 16” trail designed, built and open to mountain biking.
Weigh in on the Eldorado Canyon State Park Master Plan by May 25
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.
On Friday, April 23, 2021, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) sent an email to a very small, select group of stakeholders with little fanfare that kills the long-awaited Eldo to Walker trail connection for people riding bikes.
Recap and Timeline
- CPW released the draft Visitor Use Management Plan for public comment, due by May 25. “Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Multi-use Connection: CPW participated in multiagency discussions, a feasibility study and public meetings regarding accommodating bicycles on the trail between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch Open Space. The ‘influences on management’ and ‘management considerations’ described in the plan as well as the findings shared throughout this plan indicate that the threshold for recreational opportunities has been reached in ECSP. Specifically, with around half a million visitors a year, park operations cannot support building and maintaining a new segment of trail or exacerbated safety concerns on the congested park road. Even as CPW works toward decreasing and/or dispersing visitation in the coming years we will not add the multi-use connection to ECSP. CPW is committed to the long-term sustainability of the natural and cultural resources and positive visitor experiences in Colorado’s State Parks. And, CPW will continue to work with our partners, neighbors and all recreationists to find solutions to the growing demand for recreation opportunities in the state.“
- CPW announced that they “will not be adding the multi-use connection to the Eldo-Walker trail. Park operations cannot support building and maintaining a new segment of trail or increasing visitation for another recreational use causing exacerbated safety concerns on the congested park road.“
- The draft Eldorado Canyon State Park Management Plan was anticipated for release sometime in April 2020, with expectations of finalizing the plan later in the spring/summer, but the pandemic delayed the process. The review process for the draft plan has not been rescheduled.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) began a Visitor Use Management Plan study for Eldorado Canyon State Park. BMA was invited to sit on the accompanying Task Force which includes stakeholders including land managers, hikers, climbers, equestrians, Eldorado Springs residents, Eldorado Artesian Springs, and transportation.
- Staff put the Eldo-to-Walker Trail Connector Public Process on hold while Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) conducts a Visitor Use Management Study for Eldorado Canyon State Park.
- BMA attended the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) meeting and many mountain bikers spoke. After hours of public comment, OSBT voted unanimously to pursue an Eldo-to-Walker multi use trail connection, with the north alignment being the preferred option.
- OSBT also stated that the proposed alignment faces significant challenges that affect its ultimate feasibility. Staff should continue to work with Boulder County Parks and Open Space (BCPOS) and CPW in collaboration with all visitor groups and stakeholders, including the Eldorado Springs community to propose solutions for:
– Parking, transportation, and safety
– Environmental impacts
– User conflicts on the trail
– Previous TSA commitments
- BMA letter to the editor published in the Daily Camera.
- BMA members attended the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC) meeting and spoke in favor of a multi-use trail.
- POSAC made a motion to the Boulder County Commissioners that the North Route is the preferred alignment for construction of a multi-use trail connection between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch. POSAC will continue to work with OSMP, CPW, and stakeholders to develop and implement strategies that mitigate capacity related issues affecting the greater Eldorado Springs community.
- POSAC wants to ensure capacity mitigation efforts are identified, funded, and executed, and relevant metrics are met prior to initiating construction of trail.
- OSMP, BCPOS, and CPW presented their work at a well-attended meeting of over 120 people, in which they unanimously proposed a multi-use trail on the north side of the canyon.
- Dozens of BMA members submitted comments in favor of the agency recommendation through the Feasibility Study’s online survey. 670 unique respondents completed the survey and the majority supported the agency recommendation.
– Survey Results
- Feasibility Study investigating and analyzing trail options for a multi-use connection was completed
- Project partners hosted an open house and comment period on the project timeline and process, analysis topics to be used to evaluate the alternatives, and routes to be included in the feasibility study. Over 100 people attended the open house, and approximately 475 comments were received. Feedback was captured in these documents:
– Compendium of Initial Public Comments
– Summary and Responses to Initial Public Comments.
- Staff from Boulder County Parks and Open Space (BCPOS), City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) began the Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Trail Feasibility Study.
*Travel Management Plans mentioning Eldo to Walker
Walker Ranch Management Plan (July 2013)
West Trail Study Area (TSA) Plan (November 2011)
City of Boulder Visitor Master Plan (April 2005)
Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (2015 Major Update, Adopted 2017)
Department of Natural Resources Colorado the Beautiful program (2015)
Eldorado Mountain/Doudy Draw Trail Study Area (TSA) Plan (December 2006)