Forest Service plans off-road vehicle trail parallel to Buford Road
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – Since unlicensed vehicles have been banned from travel on the Buford Road between New Castle and Meeker, planners with the White River National Forest (WRNF) are working to establish a new trail in the same general area for ATVs and other off-road vehicles
The Rifle Ranger District, which has crafted the plan, is still accepting comment from the public about the proposed trail, which essentially would parallel the Buford Road (Forest Road 245) for about eight miles.
As proposed, the trail would connect the West Elk Trailhead, located along the Buford Road north of New Castle, to other trails in the area known as Triangle Park, without involving any travel on the Buford Road itself.
The trail is planned to follow existing roads, trails, former timber-skid trails and haul routes to reach Triangle Park.
The public comment period for the planning process ends on Feb. 27, and comments should be sent to Project Leader Kyle Grambley, in care of Glenn R. Adams, Rifle Ranger District, 0094 County Road 244, Rifle, CO, 81650, or Faxed to 970-625-2532.
Questions about the project should be directed to Grambley at 970-625-2371.
The proposed trail is in an area about 15 miles north of New Castle, along the Buford/New Castle Road, which has been closed under the recently approved WRNF Travel Management Plan.
The planned trail recently won the support of the New Castle town council, as expressed in a letter from Mayor Frank Breslin.
“We view the proposed trail as a vital amenity for the Town of New Castle, as it will clearly be a secondary economic driver which will attract more tourists who will travel through town to access the new trail,” Breslin wrote to Grambley.
According to documents from the WRNF, the trail is to be seven to eight feet wide.
The forest service is recommending that the West Elk Trailhead parking area be improved to better accommodate vehicles hauling trailers carrying ATVs and other off-road vehicles.
The trail will connect off-road enthusiasts to a network of trails that reach Coulter Mesa, Meadow Lake, Blair Mountain and beyond, according to forest service officials.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.