Public input is being sought on an environmental assessment that examines a proposal to open a 2-mile-long trail at Rocky Mountain National Park to mountain bikes.
Talk of opening a short section of hiking and equestrian trail known as the East Shore Trail on the west side of the park to mountain bikes has been kicked around since 2006. In August 2011, the Grand County (Colorado) commissioners wrote to the director of the National Park Service's Intermountain Region asking that a two-mile section of the East Shore Trail be approved for mountain bike use.
The East Shore Trail runs roughly parallel to the east shore of Shadow Mountain Lake, which is located near the town of Grand Lake, Colorado.
Two public hearings on the draft EA have been scheduled: The first on February 11, at 7 p.m., at the Grand Lake Fire Station located at 201 West Portal Road in Grand Lake. The second meeting will be held on Monday, February 24, at 7:15 p.m. at the Alfalfa's Market Community Room located at 1651 Broadway in Boulder. Parking is available at the Boulder Public Library across the street.
Two alternatives are analyzed in the EA:
Alternative A – No Action / Continue Current Management: The Park Service would manage the East Shore Trail as it is currently. Pedestrian use would continue to be allowed along the entire two-mile section of trail and livestock use would continue to be allowed on the East Shore Trail north of its intersection with the Ranger Meadows Trail. The use of bicycles would not be permitted anywhere on the trail within the park.
Alternative B – Allow Bicycle Use with Minor Trail Modifications: This alternative proposes minor improvements to a two-mile portion of the East Shore Trail within the national park to accommodate bicycle use and other existing trail uses. The proposed improvements include construction of a short reroute of the trail for the purposes of improving public safety, trail sustainability, and to avoid impacts to natural and cultural resources. A number of management strategies are included in this alternative to avoid conflicts among users.
Park staff welcome comments on this project. The EA is now available for public review and comment for 45 days. Comments must be received in writing by close of business on March 3.
You can find the document at this website.