Friday, February 22, 2013

Colorado to Receive over $2 million for New Bike Trails

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced earlier this week that Colorado will receive $2.2 million in federal funds to increase access to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and Chimney Rock National Monument. Most of that money will pay for a new trail link in the Rocky Mountain Greenway.

The completed network will connect hundreds of trails in the Denver area then connect new routes to RMNP and to three wildlife refuges: Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Rocky Flats and Two Ponds. Salazar said the project is part of an effort to "create one of the greatest urban parkway systems" in the nation.

Estes Park is involved with the process and will receive a $337,000 grant for an extension of the Fall River Multi-Use Trail System. Cycling in Estes is currently allowed only on roads, however, park planners are performing an environmental assessment to analyze the possible impacts of bicycling within the RMNP near Grand Lake. A 15.5 mile multi-use (non-motorized) trail from Estes Park's Fall River entrance to Sprague Lake is also being considered.

Bicyclists are making serious headway in their efforts to increase the recreational use of bikes in national parks and establishing rights to access. In July, the NPS allowed greater discretion to park superintendents regarding bicycle use within park boundaries. Many bicycling advocate groups expressed excitement at President Obama's appointment of REI CEO Sally Jewel to replace Salazar. Mark Eller of International Mountain Bicycling Association said, " Our philosophy is to go slow and work with parks that really want to expand their bike options. Any attempts by the NPS to get more familiar with and enthused about multi-use trails is great to see."

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant 

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