Forest Service approves EagleVail Trail Extension

Release Date: Nov 7, 2017  

MEDIA CONTACT: Aaron Mayville, 970-309-2759

Nov. 7, 2017

Forest Service approves EagleVail Trail Extension

MINTURN, Colo. - Based on review of public comments and internal analysis, the Forest Service has approved the construction of a trail connection between the Stone Creek Trail (#2349) and the Meadow Mountain Trail (#2124), along with minor trail reroutes, and modifications to the White River National Forest Travel Management Plan.

The implementation of this four-mile trail project will improve and enhance non-motorized and mechanized recreation trail opportunities, connecting local communities to existing National Forest System trails with a sustainable design. Currently, there is no connection between the EagleVail area trails and those on Meadow Mountain near Minturn. As a result, a number of illegal, user-created routes have developed. The new trail will create a more sustainable trail system, enhance visitor opportunities, and improve trail connectivity.

“This will be the first new trail built on this district in many years, and a lot of great collaboration and community effort has gotten us to this point,” said Aaron Mayville, District Ranger. “I’m very pleased with the new trail alignment, and I also look forward to the renewed focus on wildlife protection and habitat improvement – this project does a good job of balancing both.”  

Analysis of this project was made possible by a Cost Share Agreement between the EagleVail Metro District (EVMD) and the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District. Now that the project is moving forward into implementation, Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association (VVMBA), the prominent trail stewardship partner, will seek grant opportunities to fund the implementation of the project.

During the public process, comments were raised about the project’s impacts to wildlife, specifically impacts to winter range and calving habitat for elk. The Forest Service addressed these comments within the design criteria of the project and will issue a human-entry seasonal closure of the trail from Nov. 23 to June 20 each year to minimize disturbance to wildlife. The district has several other trails with similar seasonal restrictions.

Additionally, the Forest Service will work with partners to increase the compliance with these important restrictions. “Together, with VVMBA and EVMD, we will renew focus on wildlife closures and protective measures in the area. During sensitive times of year, the survival and reproduction of deer and elk really depend on careful management,” said Mayville.

Implementation for the EagleVail Trail Connector Project may begin immediately through grant proposals to attain funding. Actual ground disturbance will not occur until mid-summer 2018. To get involved with this project, contact VVMBA through the Eagle County Adopt-A-Trail Program: www.vvmba.org/faq-adopt-trail-program

For additional information concerning this decision, contact Paula K. Peterson, Recreation Program Manager, Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, Post Office Box 0190, Minturn, Colorado 81645, at (970) 827-5159, or pkpeterson@fs.fed.us .