Two new Emerald Mountain trails await cyclists, hikers

Matt Stensland

— On Friday, cycling enthusiasts will celebrate the two newest trails on Emerald Mountain.

The two trails have been named Wild Rose and NPR. NPR is a downhill-only trail meant to take traffic off the singletrack trails. The name stands for no pedaling required.

The celebration is set for 2 p.m. on the lower portion of NPR. Those interested in attending can park at Blackmere Drive and hike or bike a short distance up the road. Follow the signs.

The two trails represent just some of the work completed this year by the committee tasked with overseeing the construction of new trails. The committee has an estimated $5.1 million to spend, with the money generated from a 1 percent tax on lodging throughout the next decade.

Also of note this year was the construction of a new trailhead with a bathroom facility at the Ridge Trail. That project might not be completed until spring due to the actions of a vandal, who caused thousands of dollars in damage.

On Wednesday, the trails committee met to discuss plans for 2016, which will be a big trail building year on public lands. Plans call for the building of five new trails on Buffalo Pass on U.S. Forest Service property. To get the work done, Chad Stewart, the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, asked the committee for an additional $30,000 so he can have an employee working on the project full time. If approved, the committee will be spending a total of $80,000 on the employee for 2016.

“We don’t want to take money and not produce,” Stewart said.

Committee members ultimately supported spending the additional money to get next year’s projects done.

“This is the key that opens the door to areas that are essential to our goals,” committee member Jon Wade said.

Also on Wednesday, the committee looked further into the future and gave its support for pursuing the establishment of an endowment to fund trail maintenance. The goal would be to raise between $1 million and $1.5 million for the fund, which would be managed by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. About $60,000 per year in interest from the money in the endowment would be used to pay for trail maintenance.

“Big picture, it’s needed for the trail system,” Routt County Riders president Eric Meyer said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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