A group of three local and state governments have proposed a preliminary interagency recommendation for a regional connection between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch.
Public comments will be accepted until Dec. 9.
Note: BATCO has not taken a position on this project because we have not reached consensus about our preferred alignment.
The feasibility study evaluated two conceptual corridors to make a multi-use connection between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch. While there is an existing pedestrian/equestrian link, the trail is too steep and rocky to accommodate bicyclists.
The study focused on a North Route (consisting of N1, N2, and N3 or N4 sub-alignments as identified in the plan) and a South Route (comprised of S1, S2 or S3, and S4 sub-alignments).
Partner Agency Recommendation
After collaboration to complete the Trail Feasibility Study and careful consideration of the findings, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are jointly recommending the North Route (using segments N1-N2-N4) as the preferred alignment for an Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch multi-use trail connection. The project partners are recommending this alternative as it achieves the desired objective of completing the multi-use trail connection in a way the partners believe will best balance the conservation and recreation needs of the area.
The North Route will:
- Provide a meaningful and quality visitor experience for multi-use recreationists.
- Result in significantly fewer environmental impacts than the South Route.
- Meet multi-use design standards to accommodate bicyclists and improve the sustainability of the existing Eldorado Canyon Trail.
- Integrate the new multi-use trail with current uses and future activities within Eldorado Canyon – State Park.
There also is agreement among the project partners that current challenges facing Eldorado Canyon State Park must be addressed as part of future planning, design, and implementation phases. Eldorado Canyon State Park currently experiences visitation and capacity related concerns during peak summer months, particularly on weekends and holidays. The feasibility study and public comments identified significant challenges to successful implementation of either route due to these existing conditions. The findings call attention to several constraints that exist in the park and the surrounding town site of Eldorado Springs, especially regarding access and parking. It will be necessary to explore tools, best practices, and strategies for reducing the impact of additional users and develop a suite of options to address visitor management both within and approaching the state park.
With the recommendation to pursue the North Route, the partner agencies commit to continue working collaboratively to address the associated implementation challenges. The partner agencies will continue to work together towards strategies that provide access, connect visitors to enjoyable experiences, address traffic and crowding issues, and protect resources. Some of these approaches will rely on strengthening partnerships with other stakeholders.
While the project partners recognize that the extent of impact on their lands and management varies between the two alignment alternatives, we are united by a commitment to address these challenges and implement the recommendation collaboratively.
The public can use the online questionnaire to submit feedback on the agency recommendation. Input received will help the partner agencies confirm or refine the agency-preferred alternative to be considered by the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife decision makers.
This online questionnaire closes on Sunday, Dec. 9.
The public and community stakeholders may also provide input during the upcoming public hearings to consider the staff recommendation.