At the beginning of March, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that the Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Connection Feasibility Study is to be put on hold while a Visitor Use Management Plan (VUMP) study is conducted. When the announcement was made in March, the implication was that the feasibility of a new multi-use trail would be put on hold until the VUMP is completed. Staff amended this to allow the VUMP to consider the options of no trail versus a new northern alignment trail option.
Effectively that means the desire for a trail open to bikes running through the Park connecting to Walker Ranch has been pulled back from the brink, but delayed a year. We’ve been advocating for that to happen since the pull-back and will continue to advocate on behalf of mountain bikers to close the deal on this.
The VUMP is anticipated to begin in July 2019 with expected completion in late 2020. Part of the VUMP includes a task force comprised of stakeholders in the project, including Eldorado Springs residents, climbers, hikers, trail runners, Eldorado Artesian Springs, and mountain bikers to be facilitated by an independent contractor. BMA board president Marcus Popetz will represent BMA. The task force’s first meeting will occur in June and BMA will continue to work and collaborate with stakeholders to better understand each other’s needs.
Concurrent to the VUMP, Boulder County Transportation will work on solutions to alleviate congestion. Many strategies will be explored, such as widening SH170, improvements to the private Eldorado Spring road and shuttle service to the park.
Project Current Status & Next Steps as Outlined by Staff
No final decision on the multi-use trail connection has been made.
Further analysis of the potential multi-use connection will occur as part of the upcoming Eldorado Canyon State Park Visitor Use Management Plan (VUMP) lead by CPW. The VUMP will consider allowing mountain biking along the north route conceptual corridor from the 2018 feasibility study. This new use will be considered along with other potential future uses of the park identified during the planning process. An alternative that does not complete the multi-use connection will also be considered.
Based on the findings of the feasibility study, partner agency recommendation, and guidance provided by the open space boards and Boulder County Commissioners, it is unlikely there will be further study or consideration of the south route.
The three agencies continue to be aligned with gathering additional information that responds to the interests of all three land managers as well as the visiting public and adjacent communities.
It is envisioned that after the VUMP, and if consideration of the north route is recommended, then a comprehensive partner agency recommendation package will be brought to the community and governing bodies for consideration.