By Wendy Sweet
On Nov. 27, 2018, a three-agency working group recommended a new, multi-use, regional trail be built to connect Eldorado Canyon State Park to Walker Ranch — the Eldo-to-Walker trail. The board of directors of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance would like to thank the staff of Boulder County Parks and Open Space, the city of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, who have been working on this assessment since 2014 and who have been looking at a potential trail connection in this area for over 20 years.
This trail is the culmination of several extensive public processes, including a unanimous decision by Boulder City Council during the West Trail Study Area, as well as Boulder County’s Walker Ranch Management Plan, the Boulder County and Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plans, the 2016-2026 Colorado State Trails Plan, and the state’s Colorado the Beautiful program. We are gratified that so much effort has finally led to a recommendation to provide a multi-use trail connection from the plains into the foothills.
BMA acknowledges that Eldorado Canyon State Park and the town of Eldorado Springs have experienced parking and crowding for many years. We hope that this feasibility study is a catalyst for positive change for the park. Possible solutions to the parking issues are shuttles and multi-use trails that allow people to hike, run or bike from Boulder directly into the park. BMA members have been engaged in this project from the beginning and the resources that our organization has successfully employed in other areas will be available to help make this trail connection a success.
The Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol, for example, is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting responsible riding and trail use on our public lands, providing assistance and education to trail users, and participating in this mission by riding bikes. Our patrollers ride designated county, city and U.S. Forest Service trails and provide simple, helpful assistance — such as providing first aid, giving directions to trail users, helping with minor mountain bike repairs, and educating riders, hikers and dog walkers about the rules of the trail. There are currently 88 trained bike patrollers who volunteered over 3,600 hours in 2018, travelling 18,600 miles, and helping out over 800 users. BMBP acts as the eyes and ears of the rangers and is happy to help with the education required with a new trail as well as being “on call” to help address any user conflicts that may occur — especially in the beginning when a new normal is being established.
BMA has an extensive volunteer trail stewardship arm that builds, maintains and reroutes trails as well as helps reclaim unsustainable or ecologically problematic trail sections. In addition to actually fixing real problems on the ground, this initiative develops a sense of stewardship, volunteerism, responsibility and commitment for our public lands. Our goal is to develop a deep sense of respect for our public lands, which is why we have collaborated with the local high school cycling teams and held youth-specific events to foster this stewardship ethic in the next generation. We held 24 trail building events in 2018, where 485 volunteers contributed 2,557 hours of direct trail work. We are also happy to put our trail stewardship arm to work for the Eldo-to-Walker trail to ensure success.
These are not empty promises. BMA volunteers have shouldered in on almost every new and existing multi-use trail on city open space, county open space, and in the Boulder Ranger District over the last 20 years.
The BMA board of directors would like to reiterate our thanks to staff from the three agencies who have spent so much time bringing this feasibility study to a successful conclusion. Furthermore, we would like ensure that everyone knows that BMA is a responsible land stewardship organization, and we will continue working to find win-win solutions to any challenges that do arise. We invite you to join us in making the trails in Boulder County better for all users. Visit us at bouldermountainbike.org to find out about volunteer trail building days and other volunteer opportunities.
Wendy Sweet is president of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance board of directors in Boulder.
Read the article on the Daily Camera