West Avon Preserve opens for season Wednesday
AVON — When the West Avon Preserve reopens on Wednesday, a new trail called Wild West Ridge will open with it.
The 2.18-mile path was machine constructed by Momentum Trail Concepts last fall on the 478-acre plot of land on the north side of Avon. It provides another connector for hikers and bikers between Avon’s Wildridge neighborhood and the Singletree community in Edwards. Specifically, Wild West Ridge joins the June Creek Trail with the Avon Singletree Connector.
‘SAFE AND SOCIAL’
For Singletree residents and mountain bikers like John O’Neill, the connectivity of the West Avon Preserve has been a major bonus for the area.
“I use it to get to the town of Avon, to get in quick and challenging rides, but I really like it because it has the whole spectrum — beginner flow trails all the way to double black,” O’Neill said.
A professional road biker as a triathlete, O’Neill has been trying to improve his mountain bike skills during the last few years, and last summer he found the West Avon Preserve to be the perfect training ground.
“It reminds me of what happened in Avon with the whitewater park a few years ago — it took an activity that was relatively rogue and dangerous and provided a proper training ground where people can feel more comfortable,” he said. “In the West Avon Preserve, it’s safe and social, you’re not on some backcountry adventure where you may not find someone for hours if you get hurt. It’s just a perfect little park for our community.”
Also opening this year in the West Avon Preserve is Wyse Way, formerly known as Masher and named in honor of dedicated volunteers Cody and Casey Wyse. The trail was nearly completed in a single day last fall during Vail Resorts’ Epic Promise volunteer day, and it needs some fine tuning before it’s ready for this season. Those interested in helping can show up at the O’Neal pocket park at Old Trail Road and O’Neal Spur for a volunteer evening on April 22 at 5 p.m.
“The more volunteers we get, the faster we’ll have that trail ready,” said Jamie Malin, of the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association.
Overseeing the trails will be Avon’s new trails oversight committee, comprised of local community members including former Mayor Rich Carroll. Volunteer efforts will be coordinated through that group as well as trail maintenance and improvements. In addition to money budgeted by the town of Avon for trails work in 2015, the town has also received a $10,000 community grant from Eagle County that will go toward more signs and fine tuning of the trails this summer. The trails advisory group will have its first meeting April 23 at Avon Town Hall.
“It is going to be a public meeting, and I hope that we get as much public input as possible on all things trail related in Avon,” Carroll said.
On hand to help Carroll and the group will be Avon staff members such as Matt Pielsticker, who works hard on making the trails a reality from behind a desk while volunteers work hard swinging tools. Also looking forward to getting out on the trails this summer, Pielsticker had one reminder for users.
“Just remember that while the weather has been good for riding now, it can change overnight and if it gets muddy everyone should observe good trail use etiquette in mind and stay off of them,” Pielsticker said.