Bike path plan moves forward

Trail builders seek volunteers

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— After four years of talking to the public, creating plans and finding grant money, the Routt County Riders mountain bike club is ready to put the finishing touches on the Lower Bear Trail on Sunday.

But they need some volunteers to ensure that it will only be a one-day job.

The riders have worked in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on the project, which resulted in a mile-and-a-half long trail constructed this summer to connect with the Elk Park Trail. The new route will bypass a two-track trail that went through private property, said Pete Wither, of the Routt County Riders. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. did a large portion of the trail work this summer.

The trail is off Strawberry Park Road about a mile from the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

"It's not a trail for novice riders," Wither said. "But it's a popular loop close to town."

The trail originally crossed a section of private land where the owner expressed some concerns of liability. Wither said the riders and the Forest Service were proactive about the situation and began plans to reroute the trail about four years ago.

From there, he said, it took a while to talk to the public, get a plan together and obtain a $13,000 grant from the state's lottery grant fund, Great Outdoors Colorado.

In the last 10 years, the Routt County Riders attained $50,000 worth of Great Outdoors Colorado grants to pay for building the trail.

"We just need to put the finishing touches on the trail now," Wither said.

The club needs volunteers to show up at the Lower Bear Trail parking lot at 9 a.m. to help clear rock and remove roots off the single-track trail. It should only take a few hours if enough people show up, Wither said.

Volunteers should bring work gloves, water and sun protection. Lunch will be provided. Furthermore, the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) is sending a representative to lead the crew to make sure the proper work is getting done.

IMBA is in its fifth year of existence. It works with bike clubs and land management agencies to solve trail problems and promote mountain biking, said Jon Alegranti, trail crew coordinator of IMBA.

"There is a lot of misinformation about trails out there," he said. "A trail should be fun to ride and is not going to turn into a gnarly, eroded gully."

Water is the biggest danger to trails so informed crews don't build single tracks straight down fall lines and eliminate places that can hold water puddles, Alegranti said.

IMBA will have a free slide show this weekend to show mountain bike trails around world and what it takes to maintain them.

The slide show at 7 p.m. Saturday at Olympian Hall is to learn about some of the work the International Mountain Bicycling Association has done in the past.

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