$70k in trail work for Eagle this summer
The Town of Eagle is spending $70,000.00 to build a new trail, re-route existing trails and perform maintenance on numerous trails. The town’s Open Space department has been working very closely with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Colorado River Valley Office in Silt and with representatives from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Trail Solutions to identify and prioritize new trails, re-routes and maintenance projects on private land, town open space and BLM. The Eagle Area Trails Master Plan includes additional trail construction projects that will be accomplished in subsequent years.
After an extensive RFQ and RFP process, the town has contracted with Momentum Trail Concepts to do the work, which began in earnest mid-June.
“Our trails have become more popular in the past few years and are seeing a lot more use, especially in spring and fall,” notes Town of Eagle Open Space Coordinator John Staight. “Added use means more wear and tear and we want to stay in front of that. We’re working hard to promote Eagle as a mountain bike and outdoor adventure destination so it’s important that our product is in the best possible shape.”
Heading the list of trail projects this summer is an extension of the popular Haymaker Trail. The 5.6-mile trail was originally constructed in 2013 to host the Colorado High School Cycling League state championship race. The trail is the only one in the nation built to National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) specifications, thus it provides a beginner level trail for the community and visitors to enjoy. The trail is used year-round by mountain bikers, runners, hikers, skiers, snowshoers and more.
The Haymaker extension will be just over 1 mile in length and is on the Haymeadow property. This trail project is the result of a license agreement between the town of Eagle and Abrika Properties, Haymeadow developer.
“The Town has been fortunate to host the Colorado League State Championships for 2 years now, and we are scheduled to host a regular conference race in addition to the state championships this fall,” Staight continued. “As the Colorado League continues to grow, it has become important for us to extend the trail to accommodate the increased number of riders on the trail. Plus, we’ll be able to provide the athletes with two different race experiences in the fall: the original Haymaker Trail for the conference race in September and the extended course with the added mile-plus, currently being called ‘Extra Credit,’ in October. Equally as important, the extension will provide the community and our visitors a completely new experience on the Haymaker Trail. Momentum Trail Concepts is planning to incorporate tons of features into the new trail, making it feel like a playground.”
“The Town of Eagle has totally embraced the Colorado League and the community is aligned with our mission to develop healthy minds and bodies through mountain biking. Mountain biking is a terrific “gateway” to developing lifelong outdoor recreational enthusiasts who will stay fit and become active advocates for public lands,” said Kate Rau, executive director for the Colorado League. “Eagle is the gold standard of a community that welcomes our events. Members of our organization from staff to racers love coming to Eagle for the State Championships. The central location is quite convenient for team travel. We are thrilled to hear that there will be new trail for the State Championship race. More importantly we are extremely proud that what started as a high school race course has become such a beloved community asset.”
Construction on the Haymaker Trail extension is slated to begin early July, with completion scheduled for mid-August. “Plenty of time for Eagle locals to break it in before the State Championships in October,” Rau concluded.
School House Rock
Another project getting a lot of attention this summer is the Horton Street access to Hardscrabble Mountain (commonly referred to as Hockett Gulch). Momentum Trail Concepts will be working reduce the trail grade and provide a more enjoyable experience for riders and hikers accessing the Hardscrabble trail system. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has also requested this project in order to create a more sustainable trail.
“While this project itself might not sound super exciting, the access it provides to the trails on the west end of Hardscrabble will be pretty amazing,” Staight noted. “A lot of people don’t currently ride trails like World’s Greatest, Elmer’s, Star Wars or Easy Rider because they don’t want to climb out after. This should make getting to those trails much more enjoyable, which should have the added benefit of taking some of the pressure off our currently more accessible trails.”
The town’s “Singletrack Sidewalks” initiative, connecting kids and neighborhoods to schools and other popular locations, is gaining statewide and national attention. Momentum Trail Concepts will be constructing a new Singletrack Sidewalks connection from the 3-way stop at the intersection of Capital Street and Brush Creek Road. This project involves the construction of two parallel 24” wide singletrack trails which will connect the bike path at the top of the hill to the bike path at the bottom of the hill, adjacent to Brush Creek Park. “What this does is eliminate the need for kids to cross the street once at the 3-way stop and again at the bottom of the hill,” Staight explained. “It’s not only a safer route to and from school, the park, the movie theater, downtown, etc. but will be a lot more fun to ride. It’s a fairly steep embankment, so I envision Momentum Trail Concepts putting in some fun twists and turns as the trail winds its way down the hillside.”
Maintenance and signage
In addition to the above projects, the town has contracted with Momentum to do maintenance on Boneyard, Redneck Ridge, Eagle Ranch Loops, 3rd Gulch and Abrahm’s Ridge.
The town is also implementing an improved signage plan to connect the paved paths with the soft trail system and provide improved wayfinding throughout the town and on the trails. “People get lost fairly often, especially when they’re riding Boneyard to Pool & Ice. They have a hard time finding their way back to the trailhead. We want to make it easier and more enjoyable for people to get outside in Eagle. We’re also working in conjunction with the other communities in Eagle County through the newly formed Vail Valley Trail Connection, so all of our trail signage will have a similar look and feel. This way, someone who comes to the Vail Valley to ride or hike will recognize that they’re on a comprehensive trail system, whether they’re riding in Eagle, Avon or Vail.”