OSBT Finds a Way to Say "YES" To Allow Bikes on Anenome Hill
Not sure exactly what to say? Consider the following:
- Thank them, they made this possible. Ask them to say YES to a four- to five-mile multiple use trail on Anenome Hill.
- You are a resident, taxpayer, registered voter, and an avid cyclist.
- Refer to OSBT's motion to approve the trail, endorse the stipulations made to protect the land, and affirm that it is appropriate for the land.
- If you have a kid, would they use this trail? Is it a valuable addition to their life and yours?
- This trail is important for Boulder residents to be able to get a high-quality mountain bike experience without the use of a car.
- Connectivity to Four Mile Canyon and on to Betasso should be a long term goal for this area.
- Given the negative outcome for cyclists in the West TSA process, this is a powerful opportunity to positively re-engage the mountain biking public in a productive way.
- Mountain bikers stand ready to build this trail. Cost issues are of zero concern.
Council votes on this issue October 26. We need a roomful of mountain bikers to show up!
Every time we look at this, it looks better and better.
As many of you recall, the Boulder City Council, being a bit frustrated with the the lack of opportunities for cyclists coming out of the West TSA planning process, directed Open Space and Mountain Parks staff to do something they really didn't want to do. Staff was instructed to hire a professional trail design company to look at the possibility of creating a bike-accessible trail in the Anenome Hill area.
We are happy to report that staff did as instructed, and that the trail contractor came up with several options that would improve the resource by creating a sustainable, fun trail that could be open to bikes!
Staff and the trail contractor presented the options to the Open Space Board of Trustees in an August 10 study session and voted on it on August 17. Given the results of the West TSA planning process, we didn't expect much of a positive response from OSBT, especially when OSMP staff published a memo on August 12 recommending that the trail remain closed to bikes.
Man, was the BMA Advocacy Team ever wrong!
Trustee John Putnam said it best: "While there are several downsides associated with this new trail proposal... the possible benefits far outweigh the possible downsides." John spoke of the sensitive resources on the land that do indeed exist there, and then put forward a motion to address those issues.
What followed will make Robert's Rules of Order Hall of Fame for length; to read the entire motion, click here. But to boil it down, here are the important points:
- A four- to five-mile loop for shared use.
- The link to Four Mile Canyon is removed from this process. Acquistion and assessment of ecological and recreational resources must be done first.
- Staff will work with professionals to refine the loop trail.
- The Anenome Hill Natural area will be ON TRAIL USE ONLY. The passive recreation area in Anenome will not have this restriction.
- Study the area to create baseline info and then study the long term effects of the new trail.
- Use best practices of trail design and construction.
- Work with other departments and agencies to address the limited parking in the area.
BMA has no objections to any of these stipulations...
But this is how democracy works; it's messy. We feel the conditions and constraints put forward in this motion are reasonable and appropriate. We thank the Open Space Board of Trustees for working through these issues, which could have easily served as a way to say "no," and finding a way to include cyclists.
So what does the "proposal" look like?
We've said it before and say it again, no sustainable trail can be designed in the hearing room. The trail contractor was quick to note to OSBT that these alignments are corridors, and an actual pin flag alignment would have to be a joint effort between the trail contractors, OSMP staff, and the public. OSBT "got it," but struggled to make the recommendation clear for Council. To have a look at the possible alignments and staff's assessment of each, click here.
So what is next? City Council needs to hear from you!
Remember, we would not have gotten to this point if City Council hadn't gone against staff's recommendation to exclude bikes in the Anenome Hill area. It was they who explicitly instructed staff to hire a trail contractor to analyze the area and come up with sustainable, fun trail options that would include bikes. They deserve our thanks for thinking outside the box offered by OSMP Staff.