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May 21, 2014
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Vail Daily column: Residents work together to enact trail plan vision

Outdoor recreation opportunities and public access to open space are keys to our quality of life in the Eagle River Valley. Our hiking, biking and dog walking trails are not only important to our Rocky Mountain experience, they also serve as a driving force for our local economy, bringing outdoor tourists, sports enthusiasts and top-notch athletes from around the world to play alongside the locals, right here in our own backyard. Creating world-class trail systems conjures up that old Kevin Costner movie line “Build it, and they will come.”

Your Eagle Valley Land Trust is proud to be working with local partners to do just that — creating and building new public trails on the West Avon Preserve for the enjoyment of our citizens and guests. The Land Trust holds the permanent conservation easement on this land in Avon, and we are honored to be following the lead of longtime local trail designers, trail builders and our amazing local mountain bikers to help enact their vision for a sustainable public trail system for the entire valley community and beyond.

Owned by the town of Avon, and acquired by Eagle County Open Space and the town through a large land exchange project with the U.S. Forest Service, the West Avon Preserve is a 478-acre open space property between Wildridge and Singletree. The land was conserved forever as permanent open space in 2013 with the conservation easement held on behalf of the community by your Eagle Valley Land Trust.


In addition to conserving waterways, wildlife habitats and scenic views, public access and public recreational opportunities for locals and tourists alike were always a part of the overall conservation plan for the West Avon Preserve. And just last week, after hundreds of hours of hard work by many dedicated trail enthusiasts and mountain bikers, the Avon Town Council and the board of directors for the Eagle Valley Land Trust both unanimously approved the additional trail plans, and work will begin this summer on 6.5 miles of public trails, accessible right out the front door for residents of Wildridge and Singletree.

Due to the town of Avon’s decision to invest in creating parking lots, there will be spaces for locals and destination guests to drive to the trail head, park and access this beautiful open space and sustainable trail system off of Nottingham Road.


The Land Trust is proud to be working with the town of Avon, the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association, the one and only Lee Rimel and other local trail builders and trail enthusiasts to create this world-class trail system on the West Avon Preserve.

Special thanks go out to Jamie Malin, John McDade, Peter Geyer, Kathleen Sedillo and everyone at the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association for their dedication to this effort, as well as to Matt Pielsticker and Justin Hildreth with the town of Avon for their important work and planning. Many thanks also to Avon Town Manager Virginia Egger, and to Mayor Rich Carroll and the entire Avon Town Council for their support.


Eagle County deserves kudos for setting it all in motion years ago and acquiring the property with funding from the Open Space Department. The West Avon Preserve is truly a model for public, private, nonprofit and volunteer partnerships. Collaboration is alive and well in our community.

At the West Avon Preserve, there will be something for everyone. From family-friendly easy loops and beginner trails, to moderate recreation trails and expert downhill trails, there will be a fun experience for all. Trail users can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, dog walking and even horseback riding on the property. And due to the conservation easement, the West Avon Preserve will always be permanently protected open space, saved forever to provide outdoor recreation opportunities and open spaces for our entire community. Two trails are already in place, with several more being built this summer.


One of the highlights of the trail building this year will occur later this fall on Sept. 20 with Vail Resorts Echo Day. On this day, 350 Vail Resorts’ employees, families and friends will converge on the West Avon Preserve for a large-scale volunteer trail building effort. An entire trail will be hand-built by these wonderful volunteers on Echo Day, and we cannot thank Vail Resorts and their employees enough for choosing this public trail project for their annual volunteer effort.

Saving and protecting the open spaces and the natural places that people love for public outdoor recreational opportunities is important for our quality of life, our economy and our entire mountain community.

We hope you take the time to get outdoors, get onto the land and enjoy the protected open spaces and new trails at the West Avon Preserve!

Jason Denhart is the director of communications and development for the Eagle Valley Land Trust. For more information about the work of your local land trust and the West Avon Preserve trail system, visit

At the West Avon Preserve, there will be something for everyone. ... And due to the conservation easement, the West Avon Preserve will always be permanently protected open space, saved forever to provide outdoor recreation opportunities and open spaces for our entire community.

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The VailDaily Updated May 21, 2014 08:48PM Published May 21, 2014 07:51PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.