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County moving ahead on trails work

Arn Menconi

Recently, Karl Berger of Wolcott wrote a letter to the editor regarding his concerns for the need for more recreational trails in Eagle County. He is correct in stating that it is not only a recreational issue, but a safety one too. I wanted to let Mr. Berger know that Eagle County along with the towns of Gypsum, Eagle, Avon, Vail and Minturn have been steadily building a connecting paved trail system for the last eight years. Fifteen new miles have been constructed, in addition to the 18 miles that were existing, totaling 33 miles of the 63 mile planned “core” system. We have been jointly using a pool of funds from the transportation sales tax and also leveraging with local government capital project funds, state and federal grants and donations. Mr. Berger stated that there is not a trail in Edwards or Eagle-Vail, but there is, in fact, a fully connected trail from western Edwards all the way to central Avon, in addition to other sections in Avon and in Eagle-Vail. In both of these locations, the trail sections are often right next to the road and very visible and accessible, such as between Stone Creek Drive and Eagle Road in Eagle-Vail or at Arrowhead. In other cases, it moves out of sight down by the river or through neighborhoods such as Berry Creek. As I was driving down Highway 6 today, I observed at least 25 people using the Arrowhead trail section on bikes, on foot and on skates.Eagle County is working on filling in the gaps as quickly as possible given all the constraints and opportunities and the rate of accrual of the tax fund for trails, but we commissioners have pledged to contribute more funds from other sources to the construction effort in the next few years. Please note that it does take lead time to make these projects happen. Eagle County will start construction on building three miles of new paved trail between Eagle and Gypsum starting next month. Spur trail projects that connect to the core trail are underway or were recently completed by the towns of Gypsum, Eagle and Avon. Approved developments have or will be contributing trail sections as well. There is a lot of progress happening around the valley in our collective efforts. And regarding shoulders on Highway 6, I do want to report that I am working on a proposal to approach Colorado Department of Transportation officials to contribute funds to widen the shoulders of U.S. Highway 6 between Edwards and Eagle to reduce the hazards of bicycling riding through that 14-mile section of the valley. Concurrently, county staff is beginning planning work on the paved trail proposed from Edwards to Wolcott. Mr. Berger, I share your passion for making Eagle County a true “High Attitude Sports Mecca” for all ages of both on or off road cyclists. Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi can be reached at arn.menconi@eaglecounty.us.Vail, Colorado


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