Trail plan in the works for Glenwood
Organizers of a new Glenwood Springs trails planning effort that has won initial city and county support say they will be careful to sidestep areas in South Canyon that may contain cultural or historical relics.
Glenwood City Councilman Stephen Bershenyi raised the concern when the Glenwood Springs Area Concept Trails Plan was presented to city officials recently by the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and the local Two Rivers Trails group.
“I am concerned about any trails in South Canyon, and where those would go,” Bershenyi said, noting that the city’s Historic Preservation Commission is in the process of doing an inventory of the old “Coal Camp” site located on city-owned land west of town.
Bershenyi also worried about potential conflicts with a shooting range in that area.
Mike Pritchard, director of the mountain bike association, said that the groups are aware of those issues, and that the trail planning study will take into consideration any potential conflicts.
The trails groups earned allocations from both the city ($15,000) and Garfield County ($10,000) earlier this month to further develop the plan to eventually build more dirt, or “soft” trails in future years.
The plan focuses on four areas in and around Glenwood Springs, including city property in South Canyon, where trails could eventually tie into adjacent federal lands for a possible link to the existing Red Mountain trails.
It also calls for improving the Jeanne Golay trail system on Red Mountain and expanding the Wulfsohn Mountain Park trail system near the Glenwood Community Center, plus trail connections up the west side of Lookout Mountain to the Boy Scout and Forest Hollow trails.
A possible “gravity zone” trail system on Iron Mountain below the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park, and a bike park on city land near Glenwood Springs High School, are also being studied.
Some work to improve the trail access on Red Mountain could begin this year, said Pritchard, who presented the plan along with Jim Neu and Chris Geiger of Two Rivers Trails.
An open house to update the public on the trail planning effort and to gather more input is being planned for April 29 at the Community Center, Pritchard said.
The proposed South Canyon trail area is more of a long-term project, and would require a significant grant funding effort, he said.
“Council’s endorsement during the early phases of these projects will be one component of a successful (grant) application,” Pritchard said in a written presentation. “Once implemented, annual trail system maintenance will be accomplished utilizing volunteers.”
City Council and the county commissioners were supportive of the planning efforts.
“This would be a good way to get more tourists stopping in our area, and more people participating in the natural environment,” Councilman Matt Steckler said.
Added Councilman Mike Gamba, “This is a form of economic development, and is one area where we can get a lot of bang for the buck.”
Council was careful to note that its support for the planning effort was not an endorsement of any specific trail alignments, and that those details would need to be addressed once the plan is complete.
Glenwood Springs will get a shot in the arm economically this summer when it plays host to the International Mountain Bike Association annual conference in August, Pritchard also announced. The RFMBA is a local chapter of the IMBA.
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