The Facebooks are alive with the disappointing news that the "Slab" line at the end of North Dakota Ridge Trail has been closed off. We reached out to JCOS Trails staff to get some more details on this sudden closure and we can report that JCOS is steadfast in the need for this action. Trail activity on this unofficial line, as well as the increased tourism traffic for Dino Ridge, have created unsafe conditions for both riders and the fossil-viewing public. The number of close calls and complaints to Open Space are rising and a recent accident involving a rider prompted the action. With the expected growth of the traffic through Dino Ridge driven by the planned renovations and expansion of the visitor center, JCOS felt the time had come to reduce the potential for serious accident or injury.
While we are greatly saddened to lose such a unique feature, we concentrated our conversations with JCOS on the processes for making these decisions as well as communicating them. We continue to encourage public involvement in decisions about the trails where appropriate and we are advocating for better, earlier, communication of planned changes. We also spent some of our time discussing why riding experiences like this slab area are in demand in the region and encouraged them to work with us on identifying opportunities in upcoming trails projects to bring this type of experience back to JCOS.
Our meeting was positive and productive, and we are optimistic about the planned trails projects that we are collaborating on with JCOS. If you are not yet familiar, check out Open Space's Conservation Greenprint document. Scroll down to page 26 and you'll find some details on the planned trails projects. In addition to the Greenprint planning, we have a robust year of projects queued up for 2021. We will be partnering with JCOS on projects at South Table, White Ranch, Matthews-Winters and Dakota Ridge. Especially exciting is a new bike-only return trail on Lair O The Bear to finish that ride out directly back to the trail head.
We are also collaborating with JCOS on projects that are not yet public and there are some that will likely surprise you. Typical of many public lands projects, there are preliminary steps to be taken and plans to be fleshed out before official announcements can be made and, of course, not everything makes it through the process. But we see new opportunities for great MTB experiences on JCOS lands and will be working diligently to partner with Open Space to bring these projects to life.
You'll be hearing more about COMBA projects for 2021 in the coming months, but the highlights are:
- Opening of the bike trails at Maryland Mountain in Black Hawk
- Starting construction (after 4-years of work) of Virginia Canyon in Idaho Springs
- Re-opening of the Warren Gulch trail once construction is completed this spring
- Completion of the new alignment of the Tramway Trail in Buff Creek
- Construction and opening of new trails in North Elk Creek
- New paid-staff COMBA Strike Team to perform maintenance and realignments
- Continued improvements to Golden Bike Park
It's a lot and we have our hands very full. Your support for our projects is always needed and greatly appreciated. The projects outlined above represent nearly $2M in more trails and better trails right here where we all ride. It includes 6 new bike-only descent trails and roughly 20-miles of new trails. This will be our best year ever if we can bring it all home. Please consider supporting our great volunteers and staff by becoming a member, making a donation to a trail project, volunteering on a committee or out on the trails, or simply being a good ambassador for mountain biking in the Front Range.
There's never been a better time to Get Involved: https://www.comba.org/get-involved