Rampart Improvements Status

By Steve York   June, 2006

It's been a while since we've sent out any updates about the status of the Rampart Travel Management Plan, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening. In fact, there has been quite a bit of work going on over the last several months. Through many hours of work by the Forest Service, as well as countless hours of volunteer work by members of the Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee and other organizations such as COHVCO, the highest hurdle of getting the new travel management plan approved is now behind us. The path has been cleared, now it's time to get "down to earth" and actually start making those improvements.

Volunteers get briefed about proper trail construction
Volunteers get briefed about proper trail construction.

As you probably know, the most exciting part of the new Travel Management Plan is the creation of new trails. The changes will include both single-track motorcycle trails and ATV-accessible trails. While some of the old favorites will be closing, there will be several miles of new trails created in their place. By the time all the work is complete, there will be approximately 75 miles of new or rerouted trails, 41 of which will be single track. About 45 miles of existing trails will be closed, but that still leaves a net increase of approximately 30 miles in new trail!

Trail crew familarizes themselves with the maps showing where the trail will go.
Trail crew familiarizes themselves with the maps showing where the trail will go.

The Process

Up to this point, most of the work has been behind a desk or in front of a computer, pushing paper, making plans and getting educated on the process. Now that summer is here, the really exciting work can begin. Many of you probably are thinking "Cool, when do we get to ride them?" I'm here to tell you, it's not quite as simple as that. There is a tremendous amount of footwork that goes in to laying out a new trail before the first tire can roll over it. It's not a simple matter of "hop on the bike and head off through the woods". That may have been the way many of the trails were originally formed 30-odd years ago, but it's doesn't create sustainable or environmentally friendly trails and is a lot of the reason so much is needing to change now. Haphazard trails don't fly in today's environmentally conscious world, they need to be carefully planned and executed in order to be acceptable.

Here's an outline of how the process goes:

When will it be done?

This is a difficult question. It will probably take several years to complete all the changes. The hope is to have at least one of the new single track trails open by the end of this season, but this is a learning experience for us all and it is difficult to put a timeframe on work that is completed primarily by volunteers. Nearly everyone on the Rampart Committee has a "real job" that they do during the day too. Some of the ATV trails may be completed sooner since they are built primarily using mechanical means by full time professional contractors, but no opening dates have been set. Your best bet is to join the RampartNews email list to keep informed. We will try to provide periodic updates on the progress.

Some of the terrain within the corridor is quite rugged and makes for a difficult hike
Some of the terrain within the corridor is quite rugged and makes for a difficult hike.

How can I help?

When it comes to laying out trail, more isn't always better. Small groups can work more efficiently and make it easier to keep everyone on the same page, so we don't have plans to open the layout sessions to the public. Most of the initial layout will be handled by members of the Rampart Range Committee, the Forest Service and their contractors. However if you really feel you have a desire to help and maybe some expertise than can assist us, show up to the meetings and become a member. It's free, all you have to do is show a commitment to helping out.

During the design and layout stage, the best help we can get from the public is to KEEP OUT of the new trail areas. It is absolutely critical that if you come across any flags or areas where you think a new trail might be going, DON'T BOTHER THEM! Because this is a multi-step process and adjustments are made at every stage, the trail is not official, nor is it ready to ride until the day it is opened. If people start trying to "pre-ride" a new section, it is going to do nothing but hinder progress, damage non-trail areas, and run the risk of the project being shut down! Do not attempt to find or ride any of the new trails before they are open! If you see anyone entering one of the new trail areas (or anywhere off the existing trails) with a bike or ATV, ask them to leave or report it to the Forest Service office at (303) 275-5610.

Once construction begins, you can bet we will be sending out announcements on RampartNews and on the website when additional help is required. There will be plenty of opportunity to take pride in knowing you helped to create trails which will last for generations to come.

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