Turning trails

Oak Creek residents passionate about creating first-ever South Routt trail system

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Soroco High School sophomore Paul Books catches some major air Friday as he hits a jump-off. Dave Fisher, background left, is working to create a dirt jumping and BMX-style track to connect to the town's Around the Town Trail.

— With rakes, shovels and garden hoes in hand, a few very-motivated Oak Creek residents maybe undertaking one of the biggest projects the town, or South Routt County, has ever seen: a multi-use trail system.

Former Oak Creek Town Boards toyed with the idea of creating a trail system that would loop the whole town, and now a few young men and students are determined to make it happen.

Jonathan Wheby, the chairman of the trails committee, said work began on the "Around the Town" trail this summer. A chunk of the planned 3 1/2 mile trail that will loop the entire town and cross Colorado Highway 131 twice, has already been completed.

"The section we started on here (near the Oak Creek Motel) was the most logical place for us to start. It helps that the town owns this piece of land, too," he said. "Our goal is to just go at it section by section."

That stretch of trail already has a boardwalk that was seemingly "built overnight," Wheby said, and has begun to stretch up over a hill and run alongside Decker Park near Moffat Avenue.

Trail use already is apparent, he said, pointing to bike tire and horse prints.

"It's starting to develop. It's going to be pretty cool when it comes together. Right now it's just a lot of playing in the dirt," he said.

Wheby said the project, which is not being publicly funded and is being built on volunteer time, is long overdue.

"Part of the reason I am taking this on is because I am selfish and I want a trail. I want to be able to go out my backdoor and go for a run or a ride," he said. "Trails are a good things to have in a community."

The "Around the Town" trail has no completion date because no one is being paid to build it. Anyone interested in "playing in the dirt" to help get the trail done is encouraged to call Wheby at 846-8658.

A proposed regional trail that would connect Oak Creek to Toponas is also in the works, he said.

A meeting to discuss the proposal with South Routt residents is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Yampa Town Hall.

South Routt Velosport owner Dave Fisher also is tackling the trail project by adding a dirt jumping and BMX-style track to the trail.

Fisher, and his "apprentice" Paul Books, a sophomore at Soroco High School, try to work on the dirt track as often as possible. The track will be right below the Sierra View subdivision and when finished will feature jumps, drop-ins, step-ups and some downhill terrain.

Fisher said having the track is Oak Creek could attract local racers and more youth interest in biking and other recreation.

"Our main goal is to have a trail that is accessible to everyone and also to have some features that are more specialized. I want to attract people from Steamboat here to start a racing series," he said.

The dirt track, like the "Around the Town" trail is not being publicly funded and is being built on volunteer time.

"We just need more help and some mechanization. Or not, it's OK if we end up just doing it for ourselves," he said.

Fisher said residents with all-terrain-vehicles or other tools are welcome to pitch in. Monetary contributions also are accepted, he said.

Books - who recently moved here and doesn't claim to have been into biking before moving to Oak Creek - said he is helping build the track so that someday he can ride it.

"I want to be done so I can ride it," he said.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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