Steamboat Springs Plans for a motorized winter trail adjacent to Hahn's Peak Village have come to a temporary halt while an alternative site is pursued to the north.
"Given all of the factors surrounding winter use of the corridor this year, not the least of which is a strong desire to work closely with park neighbors, we believe it best to delay use while we all pursue the other alternative," said Ken Brink, manager of Steamboat Lake State Park.
Colorado State Parks purchased an 8.5-acre parcel of land next to the village last January to connect its land with the Routt National Forest.
No public access exists in North Routt for winter and summer outdoor enthusiasts.
Nearby residents were concerned about the close proximity of snowmobiles to their homes and sought a different route that would not impact their neighborhood.
The homeowners identified a strip of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and suggested a land exchange between the federal government and an adjacent property owner.
Steamboat Lake State Park has arranged for an environmental assessment of the BLM land and scheduled an Oct. 29 meeting in Hayden at Yampa River State Park to develop a strategy for acquiring the property.
Brink suggested a one-year timeframe was appropriate to find a solution.
"We are all hoping to leave that meeting with a firm commitment from all parties to move towards a winter multiple-use trail alternative as soon as possible," Brink said.
The state park, in the meantime, intends to move forward with plans to construct a summer nonmotorized connection trail along Hahn's Peak Village. The county planning process should begin in a few weeks.
State agencies are not required to go through the county planning process, but state parks in Routt County have been mindful of the process in the past.
In a letter to Brink earlier this week, the Routt County Board of Commissioners encouraged participation in the county planning process.
"We view State Parks' willingness to proceed with county review as mutually beneficial for both the county and State Parks and believe that it strengthens our cooperative relationship," the commissioners wrote.
The county commissioners also encouraged the timely pursuit of the BLM strip of land north of Lucky Camp for use as a motorized winter trail rather than the strip of land adjacent to Hahn's Peak Village.
The county is not alone is its support of a substitute snowmobile route.
The Hahn's Peak Village Homeowners Association and state and federal agencies endorse the idea.
Brink recognizes plenty of work remains before an alternative winter access trail is in place, but he is optimistic about the ability of different interests to work toward the same goal.
The commissioners wrote they wanted to "work with all the parties involved to arrive at a solution that makes sense for everyone."