Cross-county trails projects set for summer |

Cross-county trails projects set for summer

David L'Heureux
Special to the DailyThis stretch of snow-covered train tracks, adjacent to Highway 6 between Eagle and Gypsum, runs near the route proposed for a paved addition to the Eagle Valley Trail.

EAGLE COUNTY – They might not put down a single, square-inch of pavement this year, but ECO Trails still has a busy summer ahead of it.Plans are in the works for three new sections of the Eagle Valley Trail, the paved recreation path that is envisioned someday to run from Vail Pass to Glenwood Springs. However, only the pavement-free portion, from Gypsum to Dotsero, is tentatively slated for completion this summer. The other two sections – Dowd Junction to Minturn and Eagle to Gypsum – are in the planning stages. Time and money will prevent those projects from being completed until the summer of 2006.Ellie Caryl, director of ECO Trails, said she is plugging away and things continue to fall into place for the new additions to the county-long recreation path.”My priorities this summer are to spend more time on backcountry stuff,” said Caryl. “Beyond that, I want to work on all the construction planning for the 10 miles of paved trails on the three projects .”Other summer projects include an asphalt “overlay” for the west Edwards portion of the Eagle Valley Trail, a safety survey, new signs, and a trail-use survey. There also the annual Vail Pass clean-up on June 11 and Bike to Work Day, June 22.”I am most excited about working on the Eagle-to-Gypsum route,” Caryl said. “It’s time to join those two communities together by a biking and walking route other than Highway 6.”

Caryl said the Gypsum-to-Eagle stretch will present some problems because of its length – 5.75 miles – but it’s nothing that will keep the project from getting done by next summer.As with everything ECO Trails does, volunteer help and input are crucial, she said. Caryl is actually the lone, full-time employee of the county trails’ division. The support she receives from Eagle County residents is a strong indicator of how much this county cares about quality, recreation paths and backcountry trails, said Caryl. “The 18-member-volunteer-trails committee has worked with me on the route planning since we started on our trails plan effort in 1998,” said Caryl. “The volunteers on the committee are always involved in the final route selections.”People can get involved, she added, by attending the volunteer events, such as the East Eagle Day, where work will continue on the newly-built “Boneyard Trail”; by helping at Vail Pass clean-up; by riding their bikes or walking to work; or, by e-mailing Caryl with any general input at

ECO Trails receives grantIn early March 2005, ECO Trails received a check for $200,000 from the Colorado State Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help pay for the Avon-to-Dowd Junction Phase I Trail project. The grant was approved in 2003, and was selected for funding because of its role as a link in a state-wide east-to-west trail system, and for providing an alternative route to riding or walking on a very busy section of Highway 6. The project opened for public use in July 2004. The funds received from the state will reimburse the ECO Trails fund, and allow progress on the planned, trail sections in the Eagle, Gypsum and Minturn areas.Vail, Colorado

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