Spoke Talk: New trails coming soon
August 18, 2015
Almost exactly one year ago, Morning Gloria opened for business, welcoming riders onto 4 ¼ miles of flowy, forested trail. The trail was the first to be built with accommodations tax funds, though not from money allocated by the 2A ballot initiative that was approved in 2013. Two new trails are being built on Emerald as you read, and they are direct results from that 2A vote.
Dirt is moving on the NPR Trail, which stands for No Pedaling Required. When completed in late September, NPR will provide a bike-only directional trail option on Emerald. Directional trails reduce user conflict and promote safety by providing alternate uphill — or in this case, downhill-only access for trail users.
The trail was designed by Progressive Trail Design. Routt County Riders was awarded the bid for trail construction by the city and has been utilizing its Single Track 240 trail building machine to initially clear the tread. A heavy dose of handiwork will follow the rough-in to create several wooden features, berms and jumps per the trail design.
The 1.7-mile flow trail will start near the last switchback of Blackmere Drive before the Quarry overlook and continue down until near the top of the Howelsen Hill chairlift. Stay tuned for information on NPR trail work days — they should be fun ones.
Further up the mountain, work is well underway on the Wild Rose Trail, which will add a single-track option connecting the front and back sides of Emerald. Routt County Riders completed an approximately 450-foot section at the beginning of the trail, which is situated on city land.
The majority of Wild Rose, on BLM land, is being constructed by Clearway Services, a specialized construction company based in Idaho that builds trails and trail related structures. Rough-in is complete, with finish work remaining before its anticipated completion in late August.
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Wild Rose will provide an alternate route to the Beall and Ridge trails with more sustainable construction, avoiding the upper sections of Stairway to Heaven and the double-track Ridge connector.
It will begin around the half-way point of No Mo Bluez and end at the intersection of the Ridge and Beall trails. At approximately 1.5 miles in length, this trail will make it possible to access the trails on the backside of Emerald entirely on single track.
One other 2A-funded project that deserves a nod this summer is the Ridge/Rotary trailhead improvements, including a restroom and enhanced parking options. Work recently began, and it is anticipated that the lot will be closed for about a month during some of the construction period. Parking will be limited to the area just off the road before the current parking lot. Trail traffic accessing the Ridge and Rotary trails will be re-routed to avoid the parking lot.
Looking ahead, Routt County Riders is assisting the U.S. Forest Service with design of several new or improved trails on Buffalo Pass. Construction on those trails could begin as early as next summer.
People are reminded to please stay off all trails during construction. For updates, tune into Routt County Riders' Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/rcriders.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club's administrator.