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Telluride Mountain Club Trail Proposal

The Telluride Mountain Club has dedicated the last several years to refining our trail proposal, which was officially submitted to the Norwood Ranger District of the US Forest Service for NEPA analysis. Starting February 15th, the public comment period begins. We urge our members and supporters to submit positive comments to underscore the project’s importance (because it is typical for the USFS to receive negative comments from opposition). Once the public comment period is complete, SE Group (the third-party contractor we have hired to perform the NEPA analysis) will process the comments to help determine what NEPA process to proceed with.

The trails outlined in the proposal are intended to improve trail connectivity, add more trail variety, and plan for future growth in all forms of trail-based recreation. The trail alignments improve upon our existing trail system by adding thoughtful, experience-focused trails that build upon the national recreational trends of improving accessibility and connectivity, minimizing wildlife impacts, and managing the growth of recreation.

Your personalized comments, beyond just a simple support statement will help the USFS fully understand the local need for new trails. Examples of in-depth support could include:

  • Trail variety: The Telluride region would greatly benefit from a wider array of trail difficulties and ease levels, catering to diverse skill sets and preferences among outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Spreading out users: Expansion of Telluride’s trail system is crucial to alleviate congestion and distribute trail users more evenly, addressing the escalating popularity of outdoor recreation.
  • Trail system connections: Improved connectivity between existing trails is essential for enhancing navigation, accessibility, and overall user experience throughout the Telluride area.
  • Free recreation options: Additional free recreational trails outside the ski resort’s paid system are vital for fostering inclusivity and ensuring equitable access to outdoor activities for all community members.
  • Planning: Proactive planning by the USFS is imperative to accommodate the anticipated growth in recreational activity, ensuring the sustainability and resilience of Telluride’s trail infrastructure.
  • Economy: As a local business owner, you recognize the significant economic benefits that new trails bring to our community.
  • Commuting: Expanding our trail network will facilitate alternative transportation options for commuting to work or social engagements, promoting active lifestyles and reducing reliance on vehicular travel.
  • Community engagement: Highlight the role of expanded trail systems in fostering community connections, social interaction, and overall well-being among residents.

You can easily submit your comments through the online portal here: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=65616. If you have any questions for TMtC, feel free to reach out to us at telluridemountainclub@gmail.com. This trail proposal was submitted to the USFS in 2023 and is going through the NEPA analysis in 2024.

VIEW TMTC’S FULL TRAIL PROPOSAL HERE

Official USFS Press Release (with instructions on public comment)

GMUG Seeks Comments on Telluride Mountain Club Trail Proposal
Public Comment Period: Feb. 15 – March 18, 2024

Norwood, Colorado, Feb. 14, 2024 — The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests’ Norwood Ranger District announces the opportunity to comment on the Telluride Mountain Club trail proposal project submitted by the Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC). Over 15 miles of new trails and approximately 5 miles of trail rehabilitation for non-motorized use are being proposed by TMtC.

The proposed project aims to address the growing demand for outdoor trail-based recreation in the Telluride region. These trails will be designed to enhance public safety, trail connectivity, trail variety and accessibility on National Forest System lands surrounding Telluride, Colorado. At the same time, the trails will also be designed to protect natural areas and critical wildlife habitats, minimize impacts to watersheds and improve accessibility for various user groups. The proposed trail project will adhere to all National Trail Standards and sustainability protocols if approved.

In collaboration with GMUG, TMtC will contract with SE Group to conduct resource surveys, prepare resource reports and carry out the required analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. U.S. Forest Service specialists will review the analysis performed by the SE Group before any recommendations are made. An additional public comment period will be provided if an Environmental Assessment is prepared.

Proposed non-motorized use trails for new construction (all trails will allow foot travel, mountain bike and horseback riding use):

  • Mountain Village to Valley Floor Connector trail (1.8 miles)
  • South Side Perimeter trail (2 miles, approximately 0.7 miles are on Forest Service managed land)
  • Sheep Corrals to Sunshine Connector trail (0.6 miles)
  • Sunshine Uphill trail (2.9 miles)
  • Sunshine Parking Area Connection trail (0.2 miles)
  • Ilium Flume trail (4.8 miles)
  • Sheep Mountain Traverse (3 miles)

Proposed non-motorized trails for rehabilitation (all trails are open to foot travel, mountain bike and horseback riding use):

  • East Side of National Forest System Trail (NFST) #5421—Wilson Mesa trail (1.9 miles): also open to motorcycle use (seasonally)
  • NFST #5420—Morningstar trail (1.3 miles)
  • North Side of NFST#5505—Lizard Head trail (1.75 miles): lower section from Lizard Head Wilderness border to the junction of Wilson Mesa trail

Comments on the Telluride Mountain Club Trail Proposal project will be accepted through March 18, 2024. For more information on the proposed action and how to comment on the project, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=65616. For questions, contact Krystina Smith at Krystina.Smith@usda.gov or (970) 327- 4261.

Comments may be:

  • Submitted online at https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=65616
  • Mailed to Norwood Ranger District, Attn: Krystina Smith, P.O. Box 388, Norwood, CO 81423.
  • Delivered to the Norwood Ranger District during business hours, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1150 Forest Street, Norwood, CO 81423.

For information and updates on current fire restrictions, conditions, and recreation opportunities on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests, visit the forest website. Connect with us on social media (X (Twitter)  and Facebook).

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VIEW TMTC’S FULL TRAIL PROPOSAL HERE

OUR MISSION

Telluride Mountain Club advocates for safe, accessible, enjoyable and respectful opportunities for human-powered recreational activities in the Telluride region, through education, awareness and collaboration.

Telluride Mountain Club is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.