ESTES PARK – Rocky Mountain National Park staff have released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review for reroutes and repairs to five trails that were heavily damaged or lost during the September 2013 flood. The purpose of the environmental assessment is to address damaged portions of the trails, while protecting natural and cultural resources and preserving wilderness character.
The EA evaluated the park’s preferred alternative, which is to maintain and establish a travel route for each of the trails and a no action alternative, in which damaged trails would not be substantially repaired and the park would continue the present level of trail management and maintenance. The park’s preferred alternative for each of the trails is summarized below. The trails remain open to the public, but portions of the trails and bridges were washed out by flooding and landslides or are badly damaged.
Lawn Lake Trail – Three trail sections would be rerouted and an informal social trail would be improved for visitor travel. Pedestrian and equestrian use would be allowed.
Ypsilon Lake Trail – A new timber bridge across the Roaring River and new trail approaches on either side would be constructed. Pedestrian and equestrian use would be allowed.
Alluvial Fan Trail – A new accessible trail would be constructed between the existing east and west parking lots with a new bridge across the Roaring River. An accessible overlook trail to Horseshoe Falls would be constructed. A small portion of the accessible trail would extend into wilderness to reach the overlook. Only pedestrian use would be allowed.
Aspen Brook Trail – Four trail sections would be rerouted upslope from damaged trail sections and a trail extension would be constructed to provide a connection with an existing trail outside the park. Pedestrian and equestrian use would be allowed. An adaptive management option includes abandonment and restoration of the trail if funding, easements, and agreements for the trail extension outside the park are not secured.
Twin Sisters Trail – Existing social trails that connect portions of the trail not damaged by the landslide would be incorporated into the trail maintenance program. Only pedestrian use would be allowed on this trail. An adaptive management option includes construction of a new realigned trail if use of social trails results in resource damage or presents visitor safety concerns. Pedestrian and equestrian use would be allowed under the adaptive management option.
Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. The park will host a public meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Town of Estes Park Town Hall Board Room at 170 MacGregor Avenue in Estes Park. Information will be provided about the EA and park staff will be available to answer questions. There will be a short presentation at 5:30 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions about the EA until 7 p.m.
The EA is available for public review for 30 days, with comments accepted through Monday, April 25, 2016. The document is available electronically for review and comment online by visiting http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo, the website for the National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system. Comments also may be sent to the address below:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517
Commenters should be aware that their entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While commenters can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
If you have questions about the project, or would like more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.