Emerald Mountain Park is only a piece of the open space available on Emerald Mountain. Community members offered a diverse range of ideas for how to improve the park for recreational users.

Photo by Scott Franz

Emerald Mountain Park is only a piece of the open space available on Emerald Mountain. Community members offered a diverse range of ideas for how to improve the park for recreational users.

From disc golf course to more bike trails, ideas for Emerald Mountain Park run the gamut

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photo

Courtesy

Emerald Mountain Park

Most popular ideas for Emerald Mountain Park

  1. Disc golf course
  2. Maintain pristine setting
  3. Mountain bike park
  4. Off-leash trails for dogs
  5. Create rolling XC ski trails through meadows
  6. Telemark/backcountry ski area
  7. Directional and/or one or two hiker-only trails with signage
  8. More public input
  9. Make sure it's not just "extreme" users
  10. Expand the park

Source: www.emeraldmounta...>

— Two of the most popular ideas for how to improve Emerald Mountain Park show why the park's future will be a balancing act.

The first idea is a new disc golf course, and the second is to forgo any new development and maintain the park's “pristine setting.”

A conservation easement on the property near Blackmer Drive won't ever allow a disc golf course to be built there, but other amenities such as multi-use trails are a possibility.

Dozens of ideas were submitted to the city at two well-attended planning meetings and via a website that awarded users with prizes.

“We heard a whole spectrum of ideas ranging from leave it alone to put a mountain coaster on there,” said Craig Robinson, the Howelsen Hill and open space facilities supervisor for the city of Steamboat. “Now, we have to balance everybody's requests to provide some recreational opportunities (at the park) and to protect this area for today's users and future users down the road.”

The city in 2011 purchased the 586 acres that would become the park from Lyman Orton for $1.3 million.

The parcel is part of a greater area of land that offers outdoor enthusiasts access to more than 4,000 acres of public land, including miles of singletrack.

In May, the city invited the community to help shape the future of the Emerald Mountain Park parcel.

Robinson said the city along with the National Park Service and the SE Group, a planning firm, are working together to develop a master plan that will take into consideration all the feedback the city received.

A first draft of the plan will be presented to the city's Parks and Recreation Commission on Nov. 14.

“It's obvious a lot of people use the area already,” Robinson said. “What was important to realize is we were focusing on this one parcel, not the entire mountain.”

Unlike the Emerald Mountain Park parcel, other pieces of Emerald are not bound to any conservation easements.

That means the idea of a disc golf course, which generated the most comments and views on the planning site for Emerald Mountain Park, could have a future nearby.

Robinson said the Parks and Recreation Commission is tentatively scheduled to meet with proponents of the disc golf course Oct. 23 to discuss potential alternative locations for a new course.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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