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Park Staff Seeks Input On Bicycle Use

Rocky Mountain National Park staff will be hosting a public meeting to gather input on whether to allow bicycle use on a two-mile section of the East Shore Trail within the park. The public meeting will be held from 6:30 p. m. to 8:00 p. m. on Thursday, August 23, at the Grand Lake Fire Protection District meeting room located at 201 West Portal Road, Grand Lake, Colorado. Park staff will be at the meeting to explain the project and to accept public comments.

The East Shore Trailhead is located at the south end of the community of Grand Lake. The East Shore Trail extends 6.2 miles south to the south boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The first ¾ mile of trail is located on land administered by the USDA Forest Service where bicycles are permitted. Currently, bicycles are not permitted on trails within the RMNP. In the wilderness legislation for the park, Congress set aside the East Shore Trail Area to “maximize the opportunity for sustained use of the trail without causing harm to affected resources or conflicts among users. ” The trail is not located within designated wilderness. Bicycles are not permitted within designated wilderness areas.

Only a two-mile section of the trail is being considered for bicycle use at this time. The section under consideration extends north from the Shadow Mountain Dam to the park boundary and is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. A consulting firm has been retained to prepare an Environmental Assessment which will evaluate the consequences of permitting bicycle use on the trail. There will be other opportunities for the public to comment on this project in the future, including public review and comment on the Environmental Assessment when is has been completed. The ultimate decision on whether to allow bicycle use on the trail rests with the Regional Director of the National Park Service for the Intermountain Region. That decision is not expected to be made until sometime next year.

In addition to the public meeting, park staff also welcome public input via the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website: Visitors to this website can select the East Shore Trail Environmental Assessment and can submit written comments on line.

During the initial “public scoping” phase of the project, park staff would like to receive public input on the following questions:

1. Do you favor bicycle use on the two-mile section of the East Shore Trail currently under consideration? Please explain why you do or do not favor bicycle use on this section of trail.

2. If you do not favor bicycle use on the trail, can you suggest other alternatives to connect the towns of Grand Lake and Granby with a bike trail?

3. If you do favor bicycle use on the trail, what are your recommendations to minimize conflicts among trail users (equestrians, hikers, bicyclists)?

4. If you do favor bicycle use on the trail, how many times are you likely to use this trail during the riding season? What would your destination be if you rode this trail?

5. If you do favor bicycle use on the trail, to what standard should the trail be developed (e. g., how wide should it be and what surface should be used on the trail)?

6. If you do favor bicycle use on the trail, what should be done to dissuade bicyclists from entering the adjacent designated wilderness where bicycles are not permitted?

7. Please share any other comments you might have regarding the East Shore Trail.

If you have questions about this project, please contact the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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