Emerald in the spotlight

BLM to host 'field trip' to discuss plans for popular recreation area

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— Residents curious about what the Bureau of Land Management has in store for a recently acquired parcel of land on Emerald Mountain will have an opportunity to discuss those plans Thursday.

Gina Robison, the BLM's outdoor recreation planner, is hosting the first of several daylong field trips intended to educate the public about current and future projects on the more than 4,100-acre parcel acquired from the Colorado State Land Board in February.

"We're going to meet and basically discuss what BLM plans are for Emerald Mountain," she said. "It's a good opportunity for the community to meet the key players in the BLM project and for us to meet the community."

Those plans likely will include a trail that runs along the borders of two zones of the mountain. The zones - Zone 1 and 2 - are designated for different recreational uses. Zone 1 is for mountain biking, Nordic skiing and other strenuous activities, while Zone 2 is for wildlife viewing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding and walking, Robison said.

Creating the Ridge Trail, which will border the two zones, is a priority for the BLM, she said.

"That's our main goal right now because we want to get something down on the ground to let people explore and see what we're doing," she said.

Residents interested in attending Thursday's field trip are asked to reserve a spot and to come prepared.

Craig Robinson, the city's open space supervisor, said the city hopes for a good turnout.

"This will be a good chance to take a look at that parcel and to discuss the possible development of that BLM land," he said. "The vision is that it might be an all-day thing so people should have plenty of water, food, sunscreen and bug repellant."

Robison said Thursday's trip is the first of many, although dates for future trips have not been set.

"We're expecting it to be quite beautiful so it should be a really nice time for people to get out and explore," she said.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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