James A. Humphrey: Fix other trails
February 21, 2010
I was surprised and very disappointed when the article in Feb. 7 Steamboat Pilot & Today, while discussing various issues concerning the proposed Steamboat 700, quoted Chris Wilson, director of the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, as saying that a grant could fund an extension of the Yampa River Core Trail to the Steamboat 700 development via an underpass of U.S. Highway 40.
Obviously, this will be a huge project and a big expense, but I was not only surprised but really disappointed because some of the core trails in our town still are in need of being finished so people can use them. Specifically, I call the city's attention to the unfinished section of trail in my neighborhood. My home is located on Hunters Drive, and across the street from our home is a fairly large pond with an earthen dam holding the water, except at the south end of the earthen dam there is a break in the dam to allow some water to pass out and run down and away from the dam in a streambed that has been there for many years.
Leading up this earthen dam on the north side of the pond is a concrete trail that weaves back and forth through various neighborhoods until it gets to the earthen dam. Then, there is a very rough and narrow man-made path in the weeds on the top of the dam to the point where the break in the dam is located. Beyond the break in the dam, there are more trails that go up toward the ski mountain and surrounding mountains for quite a distance, passing through more neighborhoods.
People trying to use the trail on both sides of the earthen dam must slowly climb down one side of the break in the dam, hop from boulder to boulder in the streambed, and then climb up the other side of the break in the dam to get to the trails again. I have seen a number of people fall while trying to go down and up the break in the earthen dam. It is even more difficult in wet weather because the dirt on either side of the break becomes very slippery, and the boulders in the streambed also are very slippery. Obviously, many people turn back rather than try to get past the break in the earthen dam described previously.
Why could the city not use some of this "available" money to first finish the trails in various neighborhoods, including finishing the trail over the earthen dam in our neighborhood and by building a small bridge over the break in the earthen dam to make this part of the trail totally usable to the residents of Steamboat Springs before spending a huge sum of money on an expansion of the Core Trail in or to the proposed Steamboat 700 development?
James A. Humphrey