Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Steamboat Springs A plan to give summer hikers and bikers a trail from Steamboat Lake State Park to the Routt National Forest comes before the Routt County Planning Commission tonight.
No public access currently exists for people to travel between state and federal land.
Steamboat Lake State Park purchased more than eight acres of land adjacent to Hahn's Peak Village last January to give outdoor enthusiasts direct access from the park to the Routt National Forest.
State Park Director Ken Brink said the state took the opportunity to purchase land when it came along. Private land surrounds the state park, and opportunities for the state to purchase any of that land wanes as more people move to North Routt and buy up property, Brink said.
The original plan for an access trail drew fire from North Routt homeowners because it suggested opening the trail to motorized use in the winter. The residents of Hahn's Peak Village had no qualms with cross country skiers and snowshoers using the proposed trail, but they were dubious of snowmobilers speeding by their property.
Tonight's plan proposes developing a trail for nonmotorized use only.
Homeowners, the U.S. Forest Service, Steamboat Lake State Park, Bureau of Land Management, the county and recreational groups are looking for alternative motorized routes between the state park and federal land.
But property that could realistically link a trail from state park headquarters on County Road 129 with Forest Road 410 to the north is sparse.
State agencies are not required to go through the county planning process, County Planning Department Director Caryn Fox said. But state parks in the county, including the Yampa River State Park in Hayden and Stagecoach Lake State Park, have been historically mindful of the process and participated in it.
It would be out of character for state parks not to seek the county's input, Fox said.
In other business, the planning commission will consider a request to rezone some private property in North Routt.
Private landowner Terry Hunt traded five acres of his 210-acre property in North Routt last spring for five acres of land in Steamboat Lake State Park.
The North Routt Fire Protection District leases Hunt's former holdings from the state park and built its new fire station on the property.
State park land is zoned for outdoor recreation. Hunt is asking the county to change the zoning of the 5-acre parcel he acquired from the state park to agriculture/forestry so it coincides with the zoning on the rest of his property.
Also, Yampa Valley Development is asking for permission to vacate a 10-foot wide utility and drainage easement and unused portion of C.R. 16 in Stagecoach.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the commissioners' hearing room.
-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203
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