Spoke Talk: New trail on the way

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— Last week was a big one in the history books for Routt County Riders. The highly specialized singletrack trail-building machine that we committed to purchase arrived in the Yampa Valley and helped break ground on the Morning Gloria trail on Emerald Mountain — the first project funded by 2A accommodations tax money, which is being used to match grant funds awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado.

Spoke Talk

Spoke Talk columns publish weekly in the Steamboat Today newspaper.

The Single Track 240 (ST 240), a specialized mini dozer created specifically for building singletrack trails, will enable Routt County Riders to build and maintain trails in less time, allowing trail-building money to go further and ultimately result in more trails. The machine can handle heavy lifting associated with initial trail clearing, then hand crews can follow with lighter-duty finish work.

Routt County Riders placed a deposit from its own funds on the nearly $100,000 machine in March and successfully has raised more than half of the payoff, thanks in a big part to Moots and Yampa Valley Bank. Moots raised $12,500 by selling chances to win a fully equipped bike. Yampa Valley Bank, which is providing Routt County Riders with financing for the machine, contributed a matching grant of $12,500 and raised $1,400 at its paper shredding event. Additional private and corporate donations continue to trickle in.

Last month, Routt County Riders completed the city of Steamboat Springs’ extensive competitive bid process and was selected to build the Morning Gloria trail on Emerald.

The top of the 4.2-mile trail will begin at the top of Quarry Mountain Trail and wind its way down, eventually connecting with Lupine Trail near where Larry’s begins across the road. Its average grade will be less than 10 percent, and its width will be a minimum of 36 inches wide to accommodate hand cyclists. It will provide a completely new area for trail users to explore, with sweeping views from the Flat Tops Wilderness Area to Steamboat Ski Area as the trail meanders through pine forest and rocky outcroppings.

You may catch a glimpse of ST 240 at work in weeks to come when you find yourself at the top of Emerald Mountain. Don’t panic if you don’t see a driver — it can be operated via radio control, from as far as 150 feet away!

The trail is scheduled to take approximately two months to build, and RCR will use and direct participants of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and the city’s Conservation Youth Corps — instilling land stewardship values and trail-building skills in these youths. Routt County Riders also will coordinate volunteer build days throughout the process, allowing the community the opportunity to be involved in the trail's construction.

ST 240’s designer and builder Barrett Brown, of Single Track in Oregon, was in Steamboat last week providing training to our trail-building leaders. In his line of work, Brown visits cycling communities throughout the country. Numerous times, he commented that he never has visited a community as excited for and supportive of cycling and trails as Steamboat!

Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.

Comments

Bill Fetcher 3 months ago

Lest we forget, Emerald Mountain was a ski area for a brief six years, 1948-1954. An old tourist map from 1954, the last year for lift service, lists Gooding Run and Suicide Run. As long as we're honoring Gloria Gossard, let's reuse these two names for bike trails. The original ski runs have grown over. Gooding Run was to skier's right of the summit, while Suicide Run was to skier's left. It ended at Tower 18 of the Emerald Mountain Ski Lift where one could reboard the lift for the last steep climb up the face of Emerald. The lift used T-bars in winter and single chairs for summer sightseers, though for the 1948 and 1948-1949 seasons the two carriers were combined. The old lift line, skier's left of the power line, is nearly grown in at the top. Concrete footings for the lift terminal can be found at the summit of Emerald Mountain. Bill Fetcher

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