Katie Smith runs along Spring Creek Trail in 2009. The lodging tax trails committee has made a new trail connection at Spring Creek a priority this year.

File photo

Katie Smith runs along Spring Creek Trail in 2009. The lodging tax trails committee has made a new trail connection at Spring Creek a priority this year.

Lodging tax committee creates prioritized list of 46 trail projects

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— Several dreams of trail designers and hiking and biking enthusiasts in Steamboat Springs now are one step closer to becoming reality.

After months of meetings and diving deep into trail proposals, the committee advising the city on how to best spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on trails has completed its prioritized list of the 46 possible projects that are eligible to receive the lodging tax funding.

Dirt will start moving this summer.

Projects that are most likely to be funded this year include an improved trailhead and parking area on the west side of Emerald Mountain, a new trail connection at Spring Creek, the construction of two trails on Emerald and the addition of better pedestrian crosswalks at busy intersections within the city limits.

After that, the top tier of the list includes directional trails on Emerald and Howelsen and an overhaul of unauthorized trails on Buffalo Pass.

In the middle are a wide range of projects ranging from new directional trails on Rabbit Ears Pass to a loop trail in Strawberry Park.

And at the bottom are projects like a beginner pump track at Stehley Park and a Yampa River Core Trail extension south to the Legacy Ranch.

Which of these projects get funded during the next decade still is very much in flux.

"We're leaving a map for whoever ends up taking our places," committee chairman Scott Marr said.

The list is something the committee and future committee members will take up each year to budget for trail projects.

While proposed trails on U.S. Forest Service land still are years away from being shovel ready, the committee took an important step Wednesday to make sure they could happen.

The committee voted to give the Forest Service $50,000 to start a master planning process for the wide portfolio of trails.

The trails committee will meet again May 28 to decide which trail projects to pull the trigger on this summer.

Trail projects in and around Steamboat Springs are projected to receive $300,000 of lodging tax funding each year through 2016, and then $600,000 each year through 2023.

The funding, which is generated by tourist stays in Steamboat, was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

What type of trail projects do you see as the highest priority? Leave a comment below.

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

Comments

Pat West 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I disagree with listing directional trails on Emerald mountain as a top tier project. During the work on the management plan for the Orton portion of the Emerald property, directional trails were eliminated from the future use, and I feel that introducing directional trails to any part of Emerald mountain is a mistake. Emerald has always been a place of trail sharing and multiple use trails, establishing one way downhill trails will change the atmosphere of this trail system, and introduce high speed downhill users to a trail system that has always been a shared use area. If mountain bikers want to go fast downhill, Mount Werner has and is currently building a world class downhill bike resort. While locals will use and enjoy the downhill trails and keep showing respect for other users on the non-directional trails, I belive non-locals will have trouble "turning off" their desire to go fast when off the directional trails, and this will lead to conflict with uphill users, and non-bikers.

I participated in the city's creation of the Orton management plan, and It is my opinion that many of the restrictions, and desires of the community that were expressed during this plan's creation hold true for the entire Emerald property, not just the Orton purchase. I urge Parks and Rec, and this tax committee to rethink funding and building one way, downhill trails on any part of the Emerald property.

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Essam Welch 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Regulating direction of travel on public land is a mistake. If you must do it, it belongs on a private property. Simply building a trail with features that make a particular direction preferable to users is the solution. Recommendations may be posted on signage and maps. Regulations are not an appropriate solution.

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Jim Kelley 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Absolutely don't do one way trails on Emerald! This area is true multi-use and should be kept that way, up or down. Downhill only trails would wreck the whole feel of this area which was slowly developed over the years to produce some of the best multi-use single track trails found anywhere! However... One way trails or downhill style trails may be an appropriate fit witihin the Howelsen ski area. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians currently only briefly use this area while accessing the upper Emerald areas. ---There are many opportunities there for terrain, ramps, jumps etc, and it could work well for those downhill/free riders who would appreciate only having to get their heavier bikes to the top of Howelsen to access such terrain.

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Eric Meyer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I think there is some misunderstanding on the proposed trails discussed in the Steamboat Trails Alliance proposal and the adopted Emerald Mountain Park Master Plan. Many areas seeing increased trail users have had bad experiences with user conflict as trail user numbers increase. Please take the time to read this explanation about directional trails from the Mtb club in Bend Oregon and the support they have from the other trail user groups. http://cotamtb.com/projects/directional-trails/ These are not proposed as "downhill" trails like you see on the Ski Area or in many of the videos showing mountain biking these days. These are trails that are more similar to PBR down in Fruita's 18 road area. Your 2 year old on a strider will enjoy these trails. Please take the time to come to a RCR meeting or specifically a RCR trails Committee meeting and learn more about what we have proposed. If the numbers of bikers that BTUSA has estimated show up, this is something that needs to be looked at before it becomes an issue like it has in other popular trail systems across the west. email rcriders@routtcountyriders.org for the latest meeting information. We need the long time trail using locals help with our map project discussing popular and suggested routes (road rides, mountain bike rides, hikes, etc). Thanks,

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Pat West 4 months, 2 weeks ago

From attending the public meeting, and participating in the public comment during the establishment of the EMP's management plan, I did get the impression that the directional trails (downhill) had been removed from the EMP's future but from reading the plan on the City's website, I guess I was mistaken.

From the "bike rack" section,( the list of shelved proposals for the EMP):

"A bike park or pump track is not suitable at EMP because of access, ground disturbances, and other scenery, wildlife and management concerns. A traditional downhill course with shoulders, berms, and a smoothly graded, wide trail is also not suitable for those reasons. A variation of a less-intensely developed downhill trail- aka directional trail- was found to be a suitable alternative."

So Eric you are correct that the management plan does include directional trails, just not the berms, and shoulders that a "downhill" trail would include.

I disagree that this alternative was "found" to be suitable, and really felt that during all of the meeting I attended, the majority of participants did not want direction specific trails on Emerald or useage specific trails, and that the finished management plan showes the biased influence of the RCR on the process, rather than the desires of the citizens that showed up to participate in the process. Everyone I spoke with at these meeting wanted multi-use, shared trails that everyone could use without restrictions, I "found" the only ones wanting specific, separate trails were members of the RCR.

This is one reason I do not attend and participate in your club, I feel all public lands and trails should remain open to all users, no matter who is building and maintaining them. I do not get this impression from members of the RCR or the IMBA.

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Eric Meyer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat,

I am glad you are semi-involved even if it is not through RCR. You are still a little misinformed and I still think attending an RCR meeting or an RCR trails committee meeting would help you understand all the moving pieces. Please don't take offense as there is a lot going on and you are not the only one confused.

The directional trail you are describing that is on EMP property is not a high priority for the 2A Trails committee. I forget exactly where it fell on their list of projects, but it is ranked and I think the list was finalized at the last meeting so it will likely show up in meeting minutes soon. During the EMP master plan process the directional trail you describe had a variety of comments from in no particular order... 1) "all trails need to be multi-directional and multi-user" 2) "please do it as an uphill only route" 3) "please do it as a downhill only route" You are essentially right about the no berms, jumps etc and that was never promoted on EMP property. We are familiar with the conservation easement. During the EMP master plan process they (SE Group) did come to the conclusion that directional trails were appropriate. The master plan process in no way approves a specific trail to be built. That still requires land manager approval through a separate public process.

If you don't want to get the information from RCR, then go to the source and attend a 2A Trails committee meeting. They are all posted and open to the public. Or, set up meetings with the land managers yourself, but spreading misleading or incorrect information to further what sounds like a personal agenda does not help cycling or other trail users in Steamboat Springs.

Secondly, RCR is the cycling communities club. It does not belong to any one person. It was here before any of the current board members were involved and it will likely be around long after anyone on the current board is gone. If you don't agree with the direction the club is working to promote cycling in Steamboat, please feel free to step up and get more involved.

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Pat West 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry, I just read in this story that: "After that, the top tier of the list includes directional trails on Emerald and Howelsen and an overhaul of unauthorized trails on Buffalo Pass".

If I am misinformed it is because the information is not being adequately communicated to the public.

I did attend those meetings, these are the impressions I got from my experence. These are just my opinions.

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Eric Meyer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Right now RCR is a little in the dark too as the city works to figure out how they want to do all this work. RCR has completed the response to the city's request for qualifications. We have yet to be asked to submit a bid for any of the trails, but expect that to happen soon on the Morning Gloria trail that was grant funded. On the other trails that will use money approved through the 2A vote, even if the 2A Trails committee makes a recommendation to council, history shows they like to change the recommendation. As soon as RCR knows anything concrete we will send that information out to our members and contacts. The paper tries, but if they are only at some of the meetings, they miss the small details that actually do make a difference. Feel free to contact us anytime and we'll do our best to clarify any questions you or others might have. rcriders@routtcountyriders.org. Thanks

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Aryeh Copa 4 months, 2 weeks ago

The assertion that directional trails “will lead to conflict with uphill users, and non-bikers” could not be more wrong or misguided. The main point of directional, user-specific trails is to reduce conflict with uphill users and non-bikers. As long as they are not eliminating a multi-use trail to make it directional, but creating a new trail, all evidence shows that these types of trails reduce user conflict. These are not downhill trails for downhill bikes but user-specific directional trails for any mountain bike and bikers of all ability levels. And yes the “feel” may change: you wont have to constantly get out of the way for other users, the trails will be and feel less crowded, your ride or hike will be quieter and have more of a wilderness feel. Traveling in the same directional flow means very little interaction with others, and riding down the mountain without having to stop and yield a dozen times will be sublime. Directional trails on Emerald will serve ALL trail users by getting the high-speed downhill traffic (and most downhill mountain bike traffic in general) off of the multi-use trails that are already quite crowded. This will improve everyone’s trail experience and everyone I have talked to supports directional trails when it’s explained to them like this. So stop your assertion that everyone is as closed minded as you. Why a mountain biker that tries to set Strava record downhill times on Emerald would not support one trail that is appropriate for that activity is beyond me. It seems absurd to still have to be explaining the benefits of directional trails, especially to a mountain biker. But as long as the uninformed keep yelling publicly and working against the thousands of hard volunteer hours that has gotten us here, I will keep explaining. The 2A steering committee has a good grasp of what is here, missing and what is needed and that is why they prioritize directional trails. Other mountain bike communities already have, or are racing their neighbors to attain, directional flow trails. This is the trend. Get with the times. Without directional trails within our cross-country networks, we will become irrelevant in the larger mountain bike world. I know, and understand why, many locals don’t want more tourists or modernization of our trail system, but it’s coming so lets do it right. 20 years ago the closed minded that are afraid of change opposed the instillation of the bike trails on Emerald in the first place with statements like “I like riding and connecting animal trails”, “bushwhacking is fun” and “it will ruin the feel”. We all rode in the mud and skidded back then too. But we evolved and we need to keep up with the biking world if we want to legitimately call Steamboat Springs “Bike Town USA”.

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Pat West 4 months, 2 weeks ago

It is so funny to be griped out by Aryea Copa, how much of that BTUSA kool-aid did you drink? I'm yelling? Closed minded? Evolve, follow the trend, irrelevant in the larger world. You are killing me! I'm just posting my Opinions and perspective based on my experiences, and the information in this story.

To be clear, I don't have any problems or conflicts with trail users on Emerald. I share the trails, so do others. Someone could argue that if you didn't market Emerald as a destination for mountain bikers, then traffic control devices like directional trails would not be needed.

I support the new trails that are scheduled to be built this summer Morning Gloria, and the Wild Rose will spread out users over a much bigger trail network, and allow for more of Emerald to be enjoyed. I have hiked in both of these areas, and have no doubt the trails you build will be great.

I'm aware of the value of directional trails, but feel that establishing directional trails on Emerald pushes the Emerald Park away from a park with trails to a park of trails. I do not think Emerald should be thought of as a mountain bike park, but a park where mountain biking can be enjoyed. It was my impression from the plan meetings, that many others in the community shared this desire. You may disagree, but that was the impression I got from the meetings I attended.

I think directional trails are not needed at this time and do not support them being on (from this story)"the top tier of the list includes directional trails on Emerald and Howelsen and an overhaul of unauthorized trails on Buffalo Pass". I posted my opinion, and the evidence I felt supported my opinion.

If I have any personal agenda, it is to keep us bikers from so overrunning and overbuilding Emerald mountain that non-bikers feel they are not welcome, or wanted. Emerald mountain should be a welcome place for everyone to enjoy, not a simply a bike park.

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Aryeh Copa 4 months, 2 weeks ago

BTUSA kool-aid? Ya right. I don't think we should even be calling ourselves BT til we modernize our trail system. You should read that last line again and maybe you will get it this time. And yes, I had no idea just how closed minded you are. I would never have thought that a fellow mountain biker would do the most damage to the volunteer biking efforts of so many. Thousands of volunteer hours went into convincing this community to dedicate accommodations tax money to trails. We had numerous public meetings as well as a website for comments and suggestions. Where were you then? We have an RCR meeting every month and trails meeting every week. Where have you been? You could be very educated and informed if you attended. Instead, thanks for working so hard against us and wasting all of our time. Maybe you want start your own "Bikers against cool trails" club and see how many members you get. You clearly do not get it, non-bikers will feel much more welcome on all the multi-use trails of Emerald if there is less downhill mountain bike traffic. Directional trails serve all trail users by reducing DH traffic and conflict. The directional trails proposed on Emerald will push out no one and greatly reduce traffic on other trails. Can you hear me? So sick of sounding like a broken record. Some will never get it, til it is built, then I bet you will love it. Strava it up.

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