Steamboat Springs Hahn's Peak Village homeowners are proposing a different location for a trail that would give outdoor enthusiasts direct access from Steamboat Lake State Park to the Routt National Forest.
Steamboat Lake State Park purchased 8.5 acres of land last January to build a connection trail adjacent to Hahn's Peak Village, but residents are concerned groomed access to federal land in the winter will send swarms of snowmobilers by their properties.
Shirley Stocks, a resident of Hahn's Peak Village for many years, said she and other homeowners are not opposed to snowmobilers, but they don't want them in their backyards.
"We are trying to find something where the snowmobilers can have (National Forest) access, but where it doesn't go right through or around residences," Stocks said.
The most plausible alternate route would sit on federal land directly across from the state park visitors center, but it would require a land swap between the Bureau of Land Management and an adjacent private landowner who has agreed to a land exchange.
BLM representative Wendy Schmitzer said a land swap could be possible under the BLM exchange process, but it would require special considerations.
Working out the details for an alternate trail could take two to four years, said Ken Brink, park manager at Steamboat Lake State Park.
Brink said the state park has tried to work with Hahn's Peak Village residents to find a viable parcel of land away from their homes that would provide access to the Routt National Forest in the winter.
"So far, we haven't found one that works," he said. "But we are going to continue to work on it."
The state park still intends to move forward with plans to construct the connection trail for non-motorized summer use next spring.
Adjacent homeowners do not have as many qualms with hikers and bikers accessing the trail in the summer as they do with snowmobilers taking advantage of the trail in the winter.
Brink said it was imperative that the state purchased the 8.5-acre parcel of land when it did. The purchase of land for the construction of an access trail has long been a goal of the park, he added.
As more people purchase land and build homes in North Routt, opportunities for the state park to acquire nearby land that leads to the National Forest diminishes, he said.
"It's especially critical because the state park is surrounded by private land," Brink said. "We have a responsibility to make sure this park does not become landlocked."
Steamboat Lake State Park is not oblivious to the concerns of Hahn's Peak Village residents, he said, but the park serves the public and the public would like to see some sort of access.
The residents of Hahn's Peak Village recognize the support of local, state and federal agencies is essential in their efforts to move the proposed access trail away from their homes.
"This is a unique situation where you have so many people sitting at the table for different reasons," Stocks said. "Everybody needs to be able to use (the access trail), but it needs to be compatible with everyone."