A public meeting concerning Rocky Mountain National Park's possible allowance of bicycles on a 2-mile stretch of the East Shore Trail, which runs north to south along the east shore of Shadow Mountain Reservoir, took place Thursday, Aug. 23.
The staff of Rocky Mountain National Park conducted the meeting in order to educate the public as to what they are considering for the East Shore Trail project as well as to take public comment about the project.
The East Shore Trail trailhead is located at the south end of the community of Grand Lake and extends 6.2 miles south to the south boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park.
The first .75 miles of the trail is located on U.S. Forest Service land where bicycles are permitted and then enters the national park, where bicycles normally are not permitted on trails. More than five miles of the trail goes through the national park.
The Park is seeking public comment as personnel are in the information-gathering stage of the project. The next stage will be the completion of an environmental assessment, which will be released for public review and comment.
During the meeting some concerns were voiced by members of the public as to the construction standards for the trail as Rocky Mountain National Park does not have any current standards for the building and maintenance associated with bicycle trails.
"There is a large amount of information that exists about the common standards of mountain bike trail construction," said Larry Gamble, chief of the Rocky Mountain National Park Branch of Planning and Compliance.
The trail would end at Shadow Mountain Dam and would be part of the effort of the Headwaters Trails Association to create a bicycle trail system connects the communities of Grand County.
A trail counter was installed on the East Shore Trail, which is used to record the number of users on the trail, and the information will be used in the environmental assessment.
Part of the project which was discussed during the meeting was the reroute of the trail in three different sections.
The reroutes would skirt some areas identified as wetlands and would help to protect these vulnerable areas along the trail.
The staff of Rocky Mountain National Park will continue to accept public comments through the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website, called PEPC for short, at parkplanning.nps.gov/romo.
Information about the East Shore Trail project, including the presentation that was shown during the meeting as well as information on any other projects that are taking place in national parks, is available at the PEPC website.
The park prefers to have letters sent through the website; however, they will also accept letters through the mail, which can be sent to:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517