Work begins on New Castle trail network on BLM land
Work is beginning on a newly authorized trail system on Bureau of Land Management lands just north of New Castle.
The town and BLM have partnered with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association to create and maintain a sustainable mountain biking and hiking trail system north of town, on BLM land above the Castle Valley Ranch and Lakota Canyon subdivisions.
“We’ve approved a designated trail system that provides a great recreational opportunity right in New Castle’s backyard,” said Gloria Tibbetts, acting manager for the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office.
“Working with the town of New Castle and RFMBA, we have been able to address some of the concerns we had with the existing network of user-created trails, such as long-term sustainability, trespass issues and protecting sensitive wildlife areas,” she said.
Over the next several years, volunteers and professional trail crews will construct about 3.5 miles of new trails while improving and rerouting where necessary the 6 miles of existing trails and administrative routes. Public access will be from Alder Park and VIX Park in Castle Valley Ranch.
“New Castle is now fully poised for better living through trails,” said Mike Pritchard, executive director of RFMBA.
“RFMBA and our New Castle Trails committee have been fortunate to work with willing partners at the town of New Castle and the BLM to study existing and future trails in this area,” he said. “The trail system will provide opportunities for increased health, fitness and fun, in the beautiful setting of pinion, juniper and red rock.”
The BLM recently completed an environmental assessment that designated an authorized trail system in the area, known as the New Castle Extensive Recreation Management Area. In addition to designating 9.5 miles of current and future trails, the BLM’s decision also closes more than three miles of trails that encroach onto private property or go outside the ERMA into priority wildlife habitat.
Upcoming work on the trails will involve the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps constructing the necessary reroutes, through funding from Garfield County, a large public project with RFMBA and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, and weekly volunteer trail work sessions with New Castle Trails.
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For the time being, the city will hold off on making any changes to the 27th Street roundabout.