John Stroud

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August 3, 2014
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Two Rivers group building trail culture in Glenwood

A local trail-building effort that will see the completion of a new link at the popular Wulfsohn Mountain Park above Glenwood Meadows this summer is just the beginning of a larger project to plan for even more unpaved dirt trails in and around Glenwood Springs.

Two Rivers Trails, a volunteer organization that formed four years ago to finish implementing the Wulfsohn trails master plan, is nearing completion of the last trail segment in that particular area.

It will be called “Vanderhoofin’ It,” in honor of the Vanderhoof family which has provided significant financial support to improving the trail system within the city-owned outdoor recreation area, explained Jim Neu, one of four main volunteers who head up the group.

Located between the main gravel-covered Wulfsohn Trail and the lower section of dirt trail known as Stevie Bob, the new single-track trail will provide an “easier, less technical ride for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers,” Neu said.

Two volunteer days are planned this month to complete the work, on Aug. 7 and again Aug. 21. Volunteers should meet at 5 p.m. on those days at the city of Glenwood Springs Municipal Operations Center parking lot on Wulfsohn Road, adjacent to the RFTA bus barn. Tools are provided, but bring work gloves and water.

When Steve Vanderhoof and his father, Don Vanderhoof, sold the family business — Glenwood Independent Bank — several years ago they took some of the money from the sale and established a community foundation.

“One of the projects we picked to support was Wulfsohn Park,” Steve Vanderhoof said, adding that the foundation has donated to both Two Rivers Trails and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, which has also organized several work days at Wulfsohn.

“I’m up there all time and love to run the trails with my dog,” added Vanderhoof, who also now organizes the annual Thanksgiving Day 5K foot race at Wulfsohn. “It’s such a great little trail system, and it’s a nice amenity for people in Glenwood to be able to use.”

Bigger plans

While the nonprofit Two Rivers Trails (TRT) has focused its energy on completing the Wulfsohn trail system during its initial four years, it has a broader mission to plan for, build and maintain even more unpaved trails for bicycling and hiking in the Glenwood area.

“It all goes to improve the already excellent outdoor experience in Glenwood Springs for both residents and visitors,” Neu said. “Many towns are receiving economic benefits from mountain biking, and Glenwood can boost its already vibrant tourist industry with additional activities such as mountain biking and trail running.”

Next on the list will be to improve portions of the Jeanne Golay trails on Red Mountain, which are connected to the Wulfsohn area via the Olson Trail that was built a few years back.

“We’re hoping to build a better, more sustainable biking route up Red Mountain and have been working with the city to plan and coordinate that,” Neu said.

“The top two-thirds of that trail system is great, it’s the bottom third that needs some work,” he said of the steep switchback trail that descends from the main road that is susceptible to erosion.

Eventually, the group would like to work with the city, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association to create a trail connection from the top of Red Mountain across BLM land to the South Canyon area.

A comprehensive, connected trail system can serve as both an amenity for local residents to use and as a tourist draw, Neu said.

“We need to show community support to get trails approved over federal land, and to get that we’ll need to hire consultants to prepare the documents and help with outreach,” he said. “In addition, we need community buy-in for additional trails to get local funding.”

TRT plans to approach city officials this fall about securing funding to hire a consultant to create a conceptual trail plan. The plan would show where trails can be planned or improved, as well as identify obstacles such as private property issues and geologic or topographical constraints.

That could be followed by a more-detailed trails plan that would begin the process of establishing the Red Mountain/South Canyon link and start to identify potential funding for the project.

“If we can get that trail built, it would be a serious tourist amenity,” Neu said, adding it could draw people off Interstate 70 on their way to the Fruita- and Moab-area trails. “That’s more people eating at our restaurants and staying in our hotels.”

In the meantime, the group is also looking at potential improvements to other established trails, such as the Doc Holliday and Boy Scout trails, and the ditch trail that runs along the ridge above Wal-Mart, he said.

The other key members of the TRT group besides Neu are Chris Geiger, Steve Barbee and Jim Pokrandt.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 2, 2014 10:31PM Published Aug 5, 2014 10:37AM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.