New trails group wants to hear from you

An important part of our mission at San Isabel Land Protection Trust is facilitating parks and trails in our communities.

Connected communities encourage new development in areas more conducive to growth, taking pressure off the agricultural and open lands that define our part of Colorado and enhance our quality of life. Protecting our scenic farm and ranch lands and open space is central to San Isabel’s overall mission.

That’s why we’re involved in the Custer County trails initiative, Trails for All.

Trails for All, formed with help from a state grant, is developing a master plan for maintaining, promoting and enhancing opportunities for alternative transportation and recreation in Custer County. To that end, the group will host a public forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, at All Aboard Westcliffe on Rosita Street in Westcliffe. 

Participants will be invited to sketch out their ideas on a half-dozen large maps spread around the room. There will be a map for trails serving foot traffic, another for bicycling (both off-highway and highway-shoulder routes), one for horse transportation, one for ATV and snowmobile routes, and one for horse-and-buggy routes.

Members of the Trails for All steering committee – who represent others interested in hiking, biking, horse and horse-drawn transportation, and off-highway vehicle use – will share their compiled priorities, hear and see ideas from participants in the workshop. Following the workshop, they will compile the public input, revise the draft trails plan accordingly and begin seeking funds to realize the plan’s goals.

Trails for All has its roots in an assistance grant obtained in 2016 from the Colorado State Office of Economic Development and International Trade. In reviewing the state of trails in Custer County, the group turned to a 2004 Trails Master Plan drafted by a committee of local volunteers. The 2004 plan led to a grant to build the Park-to-Park soft-surface trail that runs along the southern edge of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe. But it includes other goals for trails creation and maintenance.

Trails for All has used that 2004 plan as a starting point for its new draft plan. The goals of the plans are similar, but Trails for All hopes that by establishing its organization and partnering with others, we can realize a more robust set of offerings to better serve both visitors and residents of Custer County. Elsewhere in Colorado, such trails organizations have been key to developing economies based on access to safe, enjoyable, healthy off-highway transportation.

Janet Smith

Posted in News


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