BOULDER, Colo. -- A final environmental assessment and a draft decision released by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) approved plans Thursday for a 44-mile non-motorized trail project near Nederland in Boulder County.
The draft decision gives the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project the go-ahead approximately across 6,000 acres in Boulder and Gilpin counties in an area along the Peak to Peak Highway known as East Magnolia and West Magnolia. Currently there are only 16 miles of existing National Forest system trails in the area and about 46 miles of non-system or “user-created” trails, an official with the USFS said.
“At the start of this project, we inventoried the trails in the area and discovered that there were all these user-created routes out there in addition to our system trails. Basically, on a map it looks like a spaghetti-bowl of unsustainable trails,” said Recreation Manager Matt Henry with the Boulder Ranger District.
-- Goal of the project and other amenities --
The goal of the project is to turn that "spaghetti bowl" into a trail system that provides a better experience for people in the outdoors while at the same time, minimizing impact to wildlife in the area, Henry added.
The project includes building new trail, adding some user-created trails to the system and eliminating all other user-created routes. A total of 29 miles of user-created routes will be obliterated following this decision, an official with the USFS said. Any additional user-created routes found during the implementation of the project will be eliminated as well.
Other features of the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project include new signage to help keep visitors on the system trails; improved trailheads, including bathrooms and expanded parking at West Magnolia and Front Range trailheads; and facilities for horse trailers at West Magnolia Trailhead are also components of the draft decision, according to the USFS.
The project will be implemented in phases by working with partners on both fundraising and implementation, starting on the West Magnolia side of the Peak to Peak Highway.
“I’m really excited about this project,” said Boulder District Ranger Sylvia Clark. “It’s located in an area that can really benefit from an improved trail system. The demand for this type of recreation will continue to grow, and through this decision we are hoping to provide a better experience for the visitor while also being better stewards of the land we manage.”
-- People can still object to the trail project --
The Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project received a high number of public input with more than 300 people participating and submitting upwards of 1,300 comments about the project.
“The level of participation from the public was outstanding,” Clark said. “We always know that when we do a project on the Boulder Ranger District, we are going to get a lot of interest from our partners and neighbors. To see this level of feedback on a project proposal, gives me great hope that the end result will be something we can all be proud of.”
If you submitted a comment during the comment period, you and wish to file an objection, you must do so by midnight on Oct. 11, 2016.