Protect Ohio’s Trails and Natural Resources
Last March, mountain bikers had the opportunity to comment on the scoping phase of the North Valley Trails Project in Crested Butte. Engagement made the difference! The Draft Environmental Assessment has been released and the plan now includes several components the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, local mountain bikers, and regional riders who love Crested Butte all advocated for during the scoping phase.
The Forest Service is now accepting comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment, through May 1st. This is the last opportunity for public comment before the plan is officially adopted by the Forest Service. In the Draft Environmental Assessment, each trail plan under consideration lists an Option 1 and an Option 2.
Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association has analyzed the plan and put together general comments, as well as a trail-by-trail recommendation between Option 1 and Option 2 for each of the proposed actions. IMBA supports these comments. Use these comments to guide your own, and remember to personalize your text. This is very important for agencies to count every comment individually.
A few select comments to get you started:
- Overall, I appreciate the thorough analysis and context for each of the trails included in the proposed action. The 14.3 miles of proposed trails and 5.8 miles of decommissioned trail will have a positive impact on the area.
- The assessment notes there is an existing backlog or deferred maintenance concern. Though there is a current backlog, Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association has worked with the District to identify and evaluate those concerns in this area of scoping, and the full-time seasonal Crested Butte Conservation Corps has the capacity to manage, maintain, and monitor not just the proposed trails, but the entire scoping area.
- I do not agree with the findings of ‘no safety driver’ around the Upper Upper to Brush Creek Trail, Strand Bonus to 409, Teo Extension, Reno Divide, and Upper Cement to Crystal Trails. Increased use, specifically in regard to UTVs and higher motorized speeds, is a growing and increasing concern for non-motorized users. Proper planning and separation of uses is an immediate safety driver. A growing population, increased use, and higher speeds should be considered as a ‘need for the proposal’.
- I support Option 1 for: Upper Upper to the Brush Creek Trailhead, Strand Bonus to 409, Budd Connection - Ambush to Tent City, Reno Divide Road Parallel Trail, Cement Creek Trail - Upper Cement Creek Trail to Crystal, Cement Creek Trail - Lower Cement Creek Trail to Caves, Dr. Park Reroute, and Day Use Areas and Trailhead Parking Expansions and Improvement Additions.
- I support Option 2 for: Lake Irwin Road Parallel Trail, Deer Creek to Tent City, Teocalli Extension, and Bear Creek Reroute.
Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association began working on this project in 2009 when the organization developed a Riders Off the Road short term trails plan with the intention of providing a better and more diverse singletrack user experience in the greater Crested Butte area. With feedback from various stakeholders over several years, the plan evolved into the North Valley Trails Project. The project will connect existing trails, reroute and decommission non-sustainable routes, and designate proper trail access points and trailhead infrastructure. Its scope consists of eight new trails or trail segments, one trail reroute, and three trailhead parking or day use area expansions and enhancements in Crested Butte and northern Gunnison. Design features and other details of the proposal can be found on the project’s NEPA webpage.
Comments are due by May 1 and can be submitted through the Forest Service’s public comments portal. If you need more ideas on what to say, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of abridged, suggested comments.