Public feedback sought for new Steamboat trails | SteamboatToday.com

Public feedback sought for new Steamboat trails

Marc Sehler builds a new, single-track trail on Buffalo Pass.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With new trails expected to be completed next summer on Buffalo Pass, planning is well underway for the next phase.

Construction could start as soon as spring 2019 on the Mad Rabbit Trails Project, which addresses the areas of Mad Creek, Rocky Peak and Rabbit Ears Pass.

Mad Rabbit Trail work would occur on public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and the Forest Service is currently seeking initial feedback from the public.

"There is so much public interest in this project," said Kent Foster, who has been working on the trail projects for the Forest Service.

A 1 percent lodging tax is funding more than $5 million worth of trail projects in the Steamboat Springs area.

The Mad Rabbit project is the final project on land managed by the Forest Service, and the Forest Service is hoping to receive initial public input by Feb. 12.

Recommended Stories For You

Public input can be submitted using an online interactive map accessible at arcg.is/2E1gKzl.

Feedback can also be emailed to comments-rm-medicine-bow-routt-hahns-peak-bears-ears@fs.fed.us with Mad Rabbit Trails Project in the subject line.

People are being asked to comment on trails projects in the two separate proposals.

Proposal A calls for 79 miles of new trails and was designed by U.S. Forest Service staff. It takes into account concerns related to wildlife, watershed and other natural resources.

Proposal B calls for 68 miles of new trails and more closely resembles a 2013 proposal developed by the Steamboat Trail Alliance Group.

Forest Service concerns include impacts to watersheds and interrupting large blocks of land that wildlife are drawn to.

"That's what we're trying to wrestle with and get other ideas," Foster said.

The Forest Service hopes to complete the analysis of the Mad Rabbit project by the end of this year.

A National Environmental Policy Act analysis still needs to be completed, and a formal public comment period could take place as early as this summer.

Construction would then start in spring 2019.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.