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Our view: Special place deserves special care

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We believe a second trail in Spring Creek Canyon could be a positive addition if it restores some of the safety and serenity for hikers of all ages who have enjoyed the area for decades. The increasing mix of mountain bikes with families out for a peaceful walk there is making it hard for well-intentioned people in both camps to co-exist.

At issue

The city is working with the Trails Alliance to develop a second trail in Spring Creek Canyon for bicycles only.

Our view

A second Spring Creek Trail for bicycles could be a positive development if it improves safety and enjoyment of the groups of multi-generational walkers and hikers who have enjoyed the availability of a mountain trailhead for decades.

Editorial board: February through May 2017

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Jim Patterson, evening editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Steve Ivancie, community representative
  • Paul Stettner, community representative
  • Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.

And it goes without saying that protecting critical wildlife habitat and safeguarding an intact natural environment rank above recreation of all forms.

The new trail is intended to segregate walkers from the increasing numbers of cyclists using Spring Creek to descend from the Dry Lake area on Buffalo Pass Road as much as possible.

City trail manager Craig Robinson said this week that Spring Creek is already one of the most heavily used trails here and will only get busier with the development of new mountain bike trials being completed by the 2A Trail Committee on Buffalo Pass. The project is being advanced by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance and would be funded with lodging tax dollars through the 2A Committee.

Spring Creek has never been easy in the political sense of the word, with issues of access to private property and the importance of the winter trail closure to protect the elk that winter on the upper section.

Robinson said the goal of giving cyclists and walkers trails of their own is easier to achieve on the upper section above the switchbacks, where the land is controlled either by the U.S. Forest Service or the city. It’s a little stickier on the lower segment along a historic county road with private property on either side. Hence, the plan identifies two distinct trail segments.

Spring Creek Trail presents that rare opportunity to access a mountain trailhead that can be easily reached by joggers, bikers, dog walkers and hikers who live in Steamboat Springs without the necessity of getting into an automobile. It’s one of the places we send visitors for an introductory hike.

But Spring Creek Canyon is more than that. The canyon is also a living classroom, in which students from nearby public schools can learn lessons about how different plants flourish on the canyon’s north- and south-facing walls.

If the city can execute this ambitious plan, while remaining sensitive to the natural environment that makes the area so appealing, we’ll all benefit from it.

Comments

jeff roman 1 month ago

I know,half of you out there are going to dismiss this quickly,but it seems to me we have a lot of real whiners all only thinking about them selves.most people yacking about this, either haven't been here very long or just cant get along with other users.ive been here long enough to remember when we could legally leave from town and ride up to dry creek on our motorcycles.(o.m.g.).still you don't find me up in arms.maybe I should be grandfathered claused in.(not) take a chill pill and move over for down hill riders.if this trail doesn't fit your needs.there are plenty of others.

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Scott Wedel 1 month ago

I don't know the details of how the plan is supposed to work through the switchbacks and the lower trail with a narrower right of way. Though if those sections are to be shared with downhill mtn bikers and hikers then there will still be major problems that will only get worse.

As for back when the trail could be used by motorcycles, town was much smaller and many fewer people used the trail. Restrictions on use become needed when there are too many users to allow everyone to just use it without it becoming dangerous.

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jeff roman 1 month ago

all I am saying is that a little courtesy goes a long way

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