Hiking/Backcountry

Forest Service updates Magnolia Trails plan

Public provided second comment opportunity

NEDERLAND – The U.S. Forest Service’s Boulder Ranger District is providing a second public comment period on its plans to create a sustainable non-motorized trails system in the Magnolia area near Nederland.

The project was initially proposed in 2012 after a fuels reduction project was implemented in the western portion of the Magnolia area. At the time, the project was also viewed as an opportunity for the Forest Service to collaborate with Boulder County by providing connectivity to the Reynold’s Ranch Open Space.

More than 300 comments were received during that initial comment period. Many original commenters expressed interest in trail connectivity to Rollins Pass. Other comments addressed private landholder concerns, Nordic and equestrian opportunities, and trail sustainability.

Devastating floods in September 2013 forced the agency to put its planning effort on hold temporarily. In the meantime, the Toll Conservation Easement was finalized, allowing the Forest Service to expand the project area to the south and west, adding an estimated 1,200 acres for a total of 6,000 acres in the planning area.

As with the 2012 initial proposed action, the revised proposed action includes re-routing trails, creating new trails, closing system and non-system trails, and converting some roads and non-system trails to system trails. The revised proposed action adds an adaptive management component to allow for changes on the trail system as it is developed and used. These changes could be on the environmental landscape (e.g., climate, wind events, floods) or on the functioning of the trails, both from its ecological sustainability and interactions of non-motorized users.

Other additional management activities proposed include:

  • Restricting equestrian and bicycle users to designated trails.
  • Obliterating all new social trails created after the decision of this analysis.
  • Prohibiting snowmobiles within the project area for resource protection.
  • Authorizing winter grooming for Nordic use on approximately 4 miles of existing roads.

With the help of partners and volunteers, the project as proposed would likely take upwards of 10 years to fully implement.

For a complete description of the revised proposed action, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/MagnoliaTrails.

All comments from the previous comment period will still guide the analysis. This second comment period is to identify issues related to what has changed from the initial proposed action

Submit comments by Oct. 14 to comments-rocky-mountain-arapaho-roosevelt-boulder@fs.fed.us. Comments may also be mailed, faxed, or hand delivered to staff at the Boulder Ranger District during office weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except holidays. Written comments may be mailed to Boulder Ranger District, Attn: Matt Henry, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301. Faxed comments may be faxed to 303-541-2515.

For more information on the proposed action, please contact Matt Henry at 303-541-2510 or at matthewhenry@fs.fed.us

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