Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch

December 9, 2018

 

To: Boulder County Commissioners

Boulder City Council

Boulder County Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee

Boulder Open Space Board of Trustees

Eric Lane, BCPOS

Dan Burke, OSMP

John Carson, Manager, ECSP

Madeleine West, DNR

Marni Ratzel, BCPOS

Kacey French, OSMP

Jeff Moline, BCPOS

Matt Jones, Commissioner-elect

Luis Benitez, SOC Outdoor Industry

Jared Polis, Governor-elect

 

BMA is pleased to have a trail connecting Eldorado State Park and Walker Ranch take a great step forward. This not only creates a great riding opportunity from the Boulder to Walker Ranch, but connects the towns of Boulder, Nederland and Winter Park with the last missing link for the multi-use regional trail, the Indian Peaks Traverse.  This connector has been an ongoing priority for BMA since 1999 and we appreciate the effort required to coordinate the staffs of three agencies to reach a recommendation. For this, the staff members participating in this effort deserve our heartfelt thanks!

 

While we still maintain that the southern route creates a better user experience due to the ability to avoid an out-and-back trail in the ever crowding Front Range, create a great loop trail for runners and hikers, separate hiking and biking traffic and generally put more miles on the ground, we acknowledge staff’s research that the northern route has less environmental impact and are supportive of the northern route as a great addition to the multi-use trails of Boulder County.

 

One recommendation we’d like to see considered as we move ahead with the northern route is to avoid dropping users all the way back down to the bottom of Walker Ranch at South Boulder Creek and instead examine options that connect in the direction of the Ethel Harrold Trailhead.  This opens the trail use to a broader spectrum of riders due to decreased elevation change in the final connection to Walker Ranch and makes a more feasibly regional connection for a broader segment of users (not just riders) trying to make their way to Nederland and Winter Park.

 

Additionally, we encourage staff to keep the elevation grades friendly towards bikes, avoiding hike-a-bikes. Decisions like proposing N4 over N3 options are a great example of this and we’d like that to be extended to all trail alignments. We also want to consider the ways the parking impacts can be minimized on the state park and the town of Eldorado Springs by focusing on creating a connection from OSMP lands that is so enjoyable that users prefer to ride into the park vs drive, regardless of if they intend to continue on towards Walker Ranch.  This is currently possible leveraging Fowler and Goshawk Ridge trails and possibly the creation of the streamside trail running East/West through the park. While these items were not in scope of the feasibility study, we believe they need to be considered while the focus is on this area so we can solve problems now while create a better system wide experience.

 

Once again, thank you for your effort to date and we look forward to continuing to work together to make this happen!

 

Boulder Mountainbike Alliance