Wednesday, November 3, 2004
The Routt County Planning Commission will consider a request tonight from the Steamboat Lake State Park to change the zoning on 168 acres, allowing the park to create a nonmotorized trail, a winter multi-use trail and two guest rental cabins.
The winter multi-use trail connects the state park and the Routt National Forest and was tested last winter for the first time.
The state park is working to buy the 168 acres in question, which is important because it prevents the park from becoming landlocked by private land and because it is a beautiful piece of open space, Steamboat Lake State Park manager Ken Brink has said.
Before the multi-use winter trail can be used permanently or for another winter, the state park needs final approval from the U.S. Forest Service, which has approved a temporary trail, said Rachel Kennon, recreation staff officer for the Hahn's Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to hold off on approving a permanent linking trail until it can work with the state park on an analysis of winter recreation in North Routt, Kennon said. That way, a permanent linking trail could be part of the entire analysis, she said.
The proposal before the Planning Commission also requests permission to have a nonmotorized trail and two guest rental cabins.
The state park is not required to get approval from the Planning Commission but has done so in the past.
A linking trail between the state park and national forest would help mitigate parking and trespassing problems associated with snowmobiling in North Routt and would keep pressure off popular parking and riding areas, officials have said. Such mitigation efforts gain importance as the popularity of winter recreation in North Routt grows.
The linking trail would be about 1.5 miles long, starting at the Marina parking lot and traveling around the lake on a groomed trail, eventually meeting up with the forest.
The Routt County Planning Commission meets at 6 tonight in the Hearing Room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.
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