Parks and Recreation Commission endorses new beginner trail on Emerald

Scott Franz

— The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission is expressing support for a new beginner access trail that would take some of the pain out of the initial climb up Emerald Mountain.

The commission voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that city staff work with local cycling and trail building groups to design and construct a new, gentler trail that would run from the stables parking lot at the base of Howelsen Hill to other trails up on Emerald.

The trail is being proposed by local cycling advocates.

They say it will be a more sustainable trail than ones that are currently being used in the area, and it will make it easier for children and beginners to access higher parts of the mountain.

The commission recently held a work session at the proposed trail and took a tour of the route.

Before moving ahead with the trail, city staff wants to reach out to the community for more feedback.

Brad Setter, the city’s Howelsen Hill supervisor, expressed support for beginner trails, but said the city needs to consider the impact of the one being proposed.

He pointed out the proposed trail will run near the backyards of those living in the Brooklyn neighborhood and that the city would want to hear any feedback those residents have.

He said the city is considering sending out a community survey about the trail.

City staff has also said that, if the new trail is constructed, it is likely the city would need to close some existing trails on Emerald that would run parallel to the new one.

The city also wants to plan Emerald trails in a more comprehensive way rather than planning for one trail at a time.

Several parks and recreation commissioners said a new beginner trail on Emerald is long overdue, and they don’t want to wait longer for a new one.

“We need to get going,” commissioner Julie Alkema said. “It’s summer, and we only have so many months of opportunity.”

The commission also voted unanimously to recommend that city staff work with local trail user groups on system-wide trail planning.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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