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  1. #1
    mtbmike
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    Boulder County Mountain Bike Advocacy Thread

    Hi - Mike Barrow here.... I'm the VP of the Boulder Off-road Alliance (BOA). We've been representing mountain biking interests in Boulder County since 1991.

    This Thread will be a catch-all for Boulder County, City of Boulder, USFS Boulder Ranger District mountain bike issues. I will monitor this thread.

    BOA publishes an email newsletter, it goes out once a week during the busy season, once a month when things are slow. To get it, visit www.boa-mtb.org and subscribe. A membership form is available at the site as well if you wish to join our group.

    I will be posting plenty of pertinent info in the next week or so. If you have questions or concerns about trails in Boulder County, post them here and I should be able to either tell you about it or point you in the right direction for your answers.
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  2. #2
    mtbmike
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    BOA 2004 Trail Work Calendar

    BOA's 2004 trail work schedule is coming together quite well for so early in the season. Never before have we been able to get commitment from agencies so early in the season. This bodes well for doing a good job of planning and getting the volunteers out for every event.

    The schedule:

    June 5 National Trails Day at Hall Ranch
    June 26 West Mag (signage, maintenance, trail reroutes)
    July 10 West Mag (signage, maintenance, trail reroutes)
    August 7 Sourdough (new construction)
    August 21 Sourdough (new construction)

    As you can see, even though we have five events scheduled, it's actually three sites that two have two events. Here's a high level overview of the events:

    Hall Ranch: This work will be on the Bitterbrush Trail through a very steep and technical section that locals call the Rock Garden. This section of trail has been in a constant state of falling apart since the day the trail was opened. The challenge here will be in planning, design and execution. Boulder County has never distinguished themselves in creating trails that are stable and challenging. They have a habit of 'fixing' a trail into submission and making it more like a sidewalk. BCPOS has made noises that they want our help in the design of the solutions necessary to stabilize this trail and keep it challenging. It should be noted that there is a lot of anxiety on the part of riders that frequent Hall that any change is going to have a negative effect on their riding experience. So this looks to be the most high visibility project in 2004. And from a long term perspective, we really need to teach BCPOS staff how to design and construct trails that are stable and challenging. We will be enlisting the IMBA Trail Care Crew to consult on design of the work.

    West Mag: The USFS completed their Travel Management plans for this area last season and several seasons of work are necessary to get this fine riding area into a condition it deserves. The immediate need will be signage to get the motorized traffic off the singletrack. There are plenty of sections of trail that will require stabilization and minor reroutes, and if the USFS can get some survey work done, there might be an opportunity in 2004 to build new trail to reroute existing track that goes through private property. What this place really needs in 2004 is a detailed work plan that identifies what needs to be done and details how to do it. If we had such a plan, we would likely have free reign to go out do the work in 2005 and 2006 with minimal interaction from the USFS. We plan to walk the trails and identify what we are going to do in 2004 in the early May timeframe.

    Sourdough: This project has been waiting to be done since 2001. This will be doing a reroute of the Sourdough north of Brainard Lake Rd. There's not much design and planning that needs to be done here. We will be constructing a boardwalk over a stream area which should be interesting.

    All of these projects will have a volunteer limit of 50 people. We should have sponsorship and food and drinks as well.

    Want to be kept in the loop? Subscribe to the BOA email newsletter... www.boa-mtb.org or better yet, print the membership form and join us!
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  3. #3
    contains quinine
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    Hey Mike -

    I'd love to hear where us internet addicted mountain bikers should bring our friends to bang fists on tables and demand access to the blm land swap up near gold hill! Or perhaps where we should bring friends to stand up and request that we be allowed to be a part of any future recreation plans in the area... I'll promise to behave myself! really!

    D
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  4. #4
    mtbmike
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    Gold Hill Ė A Future Trail System or NIMBY Private Reserve?

    Thereís something happening here Ė

    The Gold Hill Mining District has a rich mining historyÖ it was first to incorporate in Colorado because so much claim jumping going on that they needed to impose laws and keep the murder rate down. In the years that followed the strangely shaped mining claims that remained where either turned into home lots or were abandoned. Those abandoned mining claims were reverted back to the BLM to manage. The BLM doesnít want to manage these parcels because they are small and spread out all over Boulder County.

    What it is ainít exactly clearÖ.

    Thereís this law, the Recreation and Public Purposes ActÖ. It was create to provide a tool for the BLM to divest these properties. The way it works is and management agency like Boulder County can go to the BLM, fill out an application, submit a recreation plan, and eventually acquire the land if they implement the plan satisfactorily. The law specifically states that recreation access must be a significant component of any application. Boulder County has had a reputation with the BLM as the agency that always provides the minimum amounts of recreation on previous applications.

    Many of you may have ridden on a piece of property owned by a guy by the name of Stein. It was a popular freeride/downhill area that got the attention of Gold Hill residents. The County has spent over $6 million to purchase 869 acres, including the Stein property. They are trying to acquire another 750 acres to make a sizable piece of public land.

    Itís time we stopped! Children! Whatís that sound? Everybody look! Whatís going down?

    There have been hearings. Minimal mountain biking interests showed up even though BOA sent an alert in their email newsletter. But the NIMBYs showed up in force. They donít want mountain bikers there and they were more than a little emotional. The application being submitted by the County is short on details and even shorter on recreation access.

    Here is a link to the plan and accompanying link: http://www.co.boulder.co.us/openspac..._hill_rppa.htm

    Itís easy to raise the flag and rally the troops when a trail is at risk of closing, but how do you rally support for a future sweet trails system that should be there by law but never will see the light of day because two dozen Gold Hill and Sunshine residents want their private reserve?

    The BLM will be conducting hearings in the Spring of 2004 regarding this application. If mountain bikers donít show up in force, our interests will be marginalized and ignored. We need to tell the BLM to require more recreation, specifically more trails and more mountain bike access. The County is being way too sensitive to the needs of a few that are unwilling to share the public land they live next to.

    Rarely is it so important to flood a hearing room to have your voices heard. And if we donít show up in force, the NIMBYs will get their way and a killer trails system will never happen.

    The Gold Hill District is some of the most ďdisturbedĒ areas of Boulder County. Man has clear cut it, dug holes in the hillsides and laced the area with doubletrack from horse drawn wagons. Yes, we should be good neighbors and respect private property rights, but we, the citizens of Boulder County, are the new neighbors. I donít give a **** who you are, you simply canít choose your neighbors.

    Boulder Off-road Alliance needs your help. This is one of those rare times where pulling out all the stops to show up at a specific time and place and make your voice be heard. Itís one thing to have BOA representatives at a hearing to weigh in on issues, but when it becomes a situation where bureaucrats get pummeled by people they know arenít being reasonable and they donít hear and equal amount of noise from the other side, the squeaky wheel will get the grease. Weíve even heard a POSAC Board member comment ďWhere are the mountain bikers? They just donít show up.Ē

    When the hearings are scheduled, we will post it in the BOA email newsletter. To get the newsletter, go to www.boa-mtb.org and subscribe. While you are at it, print the membership form, fill it out, write a check, and send it in. This one is on you; if youíve read this piece to this point and donít show up at the hearing, then maybe we donít deserve to have access.
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  5. #5
    DSR
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    Dumb question, but what (or who) are NIMBYs?

    Just tell us when and where and we should be able to round up some pretty good numbers. S

  6. #6
    DSR
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    Sorry, just figured it out. Not In My BackYards. It's the locals that don't want the trails up there? Hermit-types that don't want the crowds I guess? Interesting... S

  7. #7
    mtbmike
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    mtbmike's glossary and disclaimer....

    NIMBY

    Not
    In
    My
    Back
    Yard

    Last Settler's Syndrome - the tendency of immigrants to close the gate behind them and say, "No more growth!"

    Disclaimer-
    My rant about the Gold Hill R&PPA application is mine and does not reflect the official position of Boulder Off-road Alliance. The Board of Directors have not taken a position on this matter to date. You can rest assured that BOA will have an official position by the time the BLM schedules hearings on the application. And I will certainly have my say in that decision.

    Rather than just take my position on this matter at face value, I implore you to read the application and study the accompanying map and formulate your own opinions.
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  8. #8
    ride
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    2003 Boulder County MTB Survey

    Is now posted as a link on this page: http://www.redstonecyclery.com/Advocacy.html

    Check it out. Make sure especially to read everyone's comments at the very tail end of the survey. It's a pretty big pdf file so you may want to save it to your hard drive for faster reading.
    Redstone Cyclery
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  9. #9
    mtbmike
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    BCPOS Survey Available at BOA Website...

    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  10. #10
    Whatever
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    Yes but will they listen?

    Mike - good to see you again at Hall Ranch... and so many Mavericks and Mav forks!

    My problem with Boulder city and county gov't is they do all sorts of surveys, typically with expensive consultants, yet they never listen to the results. They'd rather listen to one NIMBY wacko who shows up to a city council meeting, rather than 250 on a survey. I'm pretty jaded by the ridiculous local politics here...but you've inspired me to get involved, at least marginally. I'll go to the meetings when they have them.

    Chris

  11. #11
    mtbmike
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    What does this survey mean?

    Will this documented evidence compel BCPOS to run out and create new trails? Of course not.

    What is it really?
    It is another piece of the puzzle. It is a tool that we can use to build a case.

    BCPOS needs to shift from being an acquisition oriented organization to a service oriented organization. Make no second thoughts about it, the changes that must happen first are political changes. Now is the time to make that shift; the County is running out of money to buy land.

    When we as a group of hard working, registered voters make our needs known to the people in charge, it will become expedient for them to listen and act.

    Boulder County is on the verge of significant political change. We are losing 2 out of 3 County Commissioners thanks to term limits. The potential for significant positive change is there.

    Sidelight- The City of Boulder is simply a more complex, nasty animal. Never confuse the two organizations. However bad it is in the County, the City has them beat easily.

    Boulder County has the second worst mountain bike politics in the lower 48, right behind Marin County, California.

    The only way to change that is to have people like us do something about it. This is your hometown... We choose to live here and it is here where we will make are marks.

    If not here, then where?
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  12. #12
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    Just took the time to read over this survey last night. Great stuff! Sounds like cyclists want more more more...

    I wonder though... if someone surveyed the other trail users (hikers, horses) would they have the same feedback? Don't most trail users want more options?

    I'm also wondering about the county's rules about cycling. Why are cyclists the only user group banned from trails (see Lichen trail at Heil, Nighthawk at Hall, a trail at Marshall Mesa, connector between Eldardo Springs and Walker Ranch, and most of the city's trail system)? Why are cyclists the only user group banned Betasso certain days? Why are cyclists the only trail user banned from leaving the trails?

    Are cyclists the least organized group? Are most complaints about trail users directed towards cyclists? Do cyclists not put enough time and effort into trail maintenance? Are cyclists the minority trail user? Why are cyclists defined diferently in the eyes of the people making these rules and regulations?

    Why do I often feel that once I put a leg over my bike I become a second class trail user?
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  13. #13
    Whatever
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    One of the big reasons we are in a separate category, and thought of as 2nd class trail users, is that everyone in local gov't who makes decisions is a hiker, but very few are cyclists. This is why it's crucial to replace our two county commissioners with cycling friendly candidates.

  14. #14
    mtbmike
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    Keep those questions coming!

    if someone surveyed the other trail users (hikers, horses) would they have the same feedback? Don't most trail users want more options?

    mtbmike sez: I don't believe that other user groups have been targeted. We have made significant noise and we have been excluded from some trails that the County manages. This survey was a "mini-grant" given to a grad student (I think) and the main goal was to establish a baseline. Mountain bikers have been characterized as "underserved". As for other users wanting more trails, they haven't asked the question....

    I'm also wondering about the county's rules about cycling. Why are cyclists the only user group banned from trails (see Lichen trail at Heil, Nighthawk at Hall, a trail at Marshall Mesa, connector between Eldardo Springs and Walker Ranch, and most of the city's trail system)?

    mtbmike sez: first, You are mixing City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) with the County. Marshall Mesa is OSMP, Eldo to Walker would be an OSMP, BCPOS, and County project, and the rest is County stuff. I won't get into each spot, because each would require a more than 500 words. Suffice it to say that OSMP and BCPOS predisposition to exclude bikes is political. They aren't in the recreation business, they are in the land acquisition business. There is no credible scientific basis for this practice. This is user conflict hiding behind sketchy pseudo-science.


    Why are cyclists the only user group banned Betasso certain days? Why are cyclists the only trail user banned from leaving the trails?

    mtbmike sez: This was a political decision.... BOA turned out in force to the hearing, but some residents had the Commissioner's ear, and this was a decision made by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and staff was told to justify it. Staff made a presentation to the BOCC which employed the less restrictive approach, but the BOCC would have none of it. They were told what the result should be, and their job was to justify it and implement. This is the attitude that we dealt with in the 90's. I have to say that it is changing and maybe Betasso could be something worth dealing with after the election.


    Are cyclists the least organized group?

    mtbmike sez: the most organized groups are the Sierra Club's Indian Peaks Group, the Boulder County Nature Association, and PLAN Boulder. They are well funded, have excellent connections in government, and they never change their message... that message is, "Humans are bad! We must protect these pristine lands from those that would otherwise love it to death!" Their focus is BENEFITS TO WILDLIFE, rather than BENEFITS TO PEOPLE.
    As for organized recreation groups, I would say that BOA is the most organized and articulate of all recreation groups, but that's not saying much. BOA needs to have a paid membership of 750-1000 to really become a force to be reckoned with at a political level.... last year's membership was around 300. What sets us apart is that we have a cash flow that enables us to employ a part-time Executive Director. So much of what an advocacy organization has to do involves organizing events, processing membership, working with agencies and the people in charge. Volunteers simply don't have the time or drive to do an adequate job of it. If we wnat to make sure something happens, you can't count on volunteers. And BTW, we could keep a full time Exec Director and a part time staffer busy. There's so much to do and not enough resources to get it all done.

    Are most complaints about trail users directed towards cyclists?

    mtbmike sez: no, it not about bikes, it's about recreation in general. The horses and hikers don't have a problem with us, it's the EXCLUSIONISTS that hate recreationists.

    Do cyclists not put enough time and effort into trail maintenance?

    mtbmike sez: BOA has logged over 10,500 volunteer hours on trails for every agency since 1991. That's over 5 man-years. We do more work on multi-use trails in Boulder County than anyone. There are some groups that focus on Wilderness trails that may do better, but we can't ride there so we don't help there. Sweat equity over the years has bought us lip service, and OSMP and BCPOS are reluctant to involve us more for fear that they may have to be more beholden to us than they want to. And they are right!

    Are cyclists the minority trail user? Why are cyclists defined diferently in the eyes of the people making these rules and regulations?

    mtbmike sez: I don't have the stats in front of me, but hikers make up the majority of users on BCPOS lands. Those stats do exist. We are defined differently because we really are different and introduce variables into the mix that don't exist when we aren't there.

    I love answering these kinds of questions! But next time, keep the number of questions to a minimum per reply so I don't drop anything between the cracks....

    I have plenty of info about OSMP, but I am holding back on that stuff for a while...
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  15. #15
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    I know lumped the trails that I use most often in the Boulder city/county together. What's the priority for BOA? Is it the county with the upcoming election? Is the city agency a second priority for BOA today?
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  16. #16
    mtbmike
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    The City AND County are the Highest Priority

    We can't lose our focus on either of these agencies because

    * The City and County own the lions share of public land in the foothills, which are accessible year round

    * The City and County are still acquiring land that could be good recreation opportunities

    * The City just had an election where a majority of City Council were replaced. BOA, along with FIDOS, BCHA, rock climbers, runners and paragliders interviewed every candidate and we schooled them on our issues. For the first time, Council now knows and understands our issues. Before that point, they didn't even know there was a problem.

    * Remember the Open Space Tax and how there was organized opposition? I had a hand in that (not BOA)... not because I don't like Open Space, but because the City has ignored recreation so long and this was the only leverage that was available. And believe me, even though it passed, OSMP staff was scared to death of us. They aren't ignoring us anymore.

    * The City of Boulder is still trying to develop a Visitor Use Plan that would apply to all of OSMP's holdings. This process has been bogus since they started this process almost 7 years ago. It is likely that a draft plan will see the light of day by mid year. This is an extremely dangerous piece of work that may require rallying the masses to a City Council meeting. BOA representatives are keeping close tabs on this one.

    * The County is developing management plans for new properties. Mud Lake near Nederland will have a management plan see the light of day this year. And North Foothills Open Space (Heil, Hall and Rabbit) will should have their plans reviewed again soon. And the Heil to Lyons Connector needs the public to push the County toward makign this trail happen.

    * Two out of three County Commissioners are gone thanks to term limits. Ron Stewart, as some of you may know, has seen it in his wisdom and appointed himself Director of BCPOS, effectively setting himself up a job for life. Nobody knows if he will stay after the election. But as the most powerful politician in Boulder County, the only way we'll ever get rid of him is if he leaves.

    As for the Forest Service, they are open doors compared to the City and County. But they have no money to do anything! They are going to do travel management on Winegar Ridge this year, and that will be something to be in the middle of, but USFS staff really
    does listen and integrate our needs and suggestions into their plans.

    I hope that anwers your question and creates a few more....
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  17. #17
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    MTBMike - That's a fantastic quote in your sig.

    I'm sure you've seen my posts about Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs. Why is it so hard to wake up bikers to the fact that they need to be involved? I'm getting frustrated and irritated at the "I don't need to do anything, someone else will handle it" attitude.

    Any ideas? "Best Practices"? Great successes in getting people involved?
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  18. #18
    Whatever
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    Caribou Ranch meeting Tues Mar 9 in Nederland

    I saw this on the BOA email today. I know as of last year it was still no bikes, I think forever. Last I heard wildlife impact by bikes would be "too excessive." But horses and a 100 car parking lot would not. And no opportunities for public input that I've seen. What's up?

  19. #19
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    Rocky Flats Refuge

    I read an article in the Denver Post this week about planning meetings for the redevelopment of the Rocky Flats area once the cleanup is completed. Is that Boulder County?
    The article stated, they are reviewing useage plans that range from very little public useage to full multi-use including up to 19 miles of new trails. Any word on meetings for input?

    Do you know anything about this, or know who might?

  20. #20
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    It's mostly Jefferson County - try this link for more info:
    http://rockyflats.fws.gov/down_map.htm
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  21. #21
    mtbmike
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    I will get to responses next week....

    I am out of town this week. Riding in Georgia....
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  22. #22
    mtbmike
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    Rocky Flats has a long way to go....

    The Government does not own the mineral rights to a large percentage of the land that would be taken on as a Wildlife Refuge by the Fish and Wildlife Service. I have heard that Fish and Wildlife will not take the land under these circumstances.

    The land that would be churned up is an excellent remnant of pararie. It deserves to be preserved.

    And even if this issue didn't exist, Fish And Wildlife says they would not do anything to the property for at least five years after acquisition. So all of this "planning" is pretty questionable as to whether any of it will see the light of day in our lifetime....
    mtbmike
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    The world is run by those that show up....

  23. #23
    mtbmike
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    No adequate answers for you.....

    I have given your query a lot of thought since you posted your request for tools/methods that would light a fire under the mountain biking public.

    I simply don't have those answers. Our problem is cultural; there's just too much to pay attention to these days. There usually needs to be a crisis that gets the population out in numbers. After all, wouldn't you rather be riding?

    It all comes down to marketing. You must be able to make a connection and communicate with people that have chosen to live in the area, not transients like college students. As I said in a previous post, this is where I choose to live, and this is where I will make my mark. It seems to me that this demographic is your core.

    Mountain bike advocacy is about political action in Boulder County. So the same rules apply for mountain bike groups and political action groups. BOA has only recently come to grips with the concepts of being a political action group, and I'm fairly certain there are members and maybe even Board members of BOA that would not be comfortable with that description. I hate the idea as well, but this is the hand we've been dealt.

    The biggest revelation that I have had since BOA has become political has been the approach taken by our Executive Director, Adam Massey. Adam will be a mover and shaker in some organization or political seat someday. His ability to "become" part and parcel of the political process is his best quality. It doesn't work to "be the opposition" and buck heads, what works is to transform the opposition from within. When you start showing up and and participating with those that make decisions about things you care about, the barricades begin to come down and the discussions become contextual.

    There's something for you to chew on....
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

  24. #24
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    Maps r us

    It seems to me maybe this would be a good opportunity to apply some of what I do for a living (well sort of) and make some spiffy, professional looking maps for the effort. It would be real easy to download the DRG's (quad sheets) for the area then annotate the areas that are going to be worked on. I have 2 gps receivers that can download data to overlay on the maps. I also have the gis software to create professional maps and documents to make your point. One could go so far as to link digital pictures in the gis project at the appropriate locations and I believe we could output files for a slideshow software as well. I'm pretty sure a professional product would go a long way to furthering the cause.

    I'm unemployed (again) right now so I have the time to do the work. I'm looking hard for jobs so I can't guarantee I'll be around by June but if someone had a plan to get moving earlier that might work out. I could definitely stand a wee bit of paying work right now so if that worked out it would be a real good thing but I'll do the work anyway if there's a plan afoot.

    By the way, where the heck is West Mag????????????





    West Mag: The USFS completed their Travel Management plans for this area last season and several seasons of work are necessary to get this fine riding area into a condition it deserves. The immediate need will be signage to get the motorized traffic off the singletrack. There are plenty of sections of trail that will require stabilization and minor reroutes, and if the USFS can get some survey work done, there might be an opportunity in 2004 to build new trail to reroute existing track that goes through private property. What this place really needs in 2004 is a detailed work plan that identifies what needs to be done and details how to do it. If we had such a plan, we would likely have free reign to go out do the work in 2005 and 2006 with minimal interaction from the USFS. We plan to walk the trails and identify what we are going to do in 2004 in the early May timeframe.
    Sorry what?

  25. #25
    mtbmike
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    Interesting offer!

    [QUOTE=bulletbob]It seems to me maybe this would be a good opportunity to apply some of what I do for a living (well sort of) and make some spiffy, professional looking maps for the effort. It would be real easy to download the DRG's (quad sheets) for the area then annotate the areas that are going to be worked on. I have 2 gps receivers that can download data to overlay on the maps. I also have the gis software to create professional maps and documents to make your point. One could go so far as to link digital pictures in the gis project at the appropriate locations and I believe we could output files for a slideshow software as well. I'm pretty sure a professional product would go a long way to furthering the cause.

    I'm unemployed (again) right now so I have the time to do the work. I'm looking hard for jobs so I can't guarantee I'll be around by June but if someone had a plan to get moving earlier that might work out. I could definitely stand a wee bit of paying work right now so if that worked out it would be a real good thing but I'll do the work anyway if there's a plan afoot.

    Mtbmike sez: BOA is in the process of updating their website. Part of that overhaul will be the creation of a discussion board that will have a separate thread dedicated to every popular mountain biking trail in Boulder County.... having accompaying information about those trails might be an appropriate feature as well.... how about showing up for tonite's meeting at Full Cycle and discussing it over a drink?

    By the way, where the heck is West Mag????????????

    West Mag is south of Nederland, west of the Peak to Peak highway, and right off Magnolia Road.... and has the best singletrack mountain biking in Boulder County. Once again, come to the meeting tonite and I'll show you on a map....
    mtbmike
    Longmont Colorado

    The world is run by those that show up....

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