Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lyons to Boulder trail aka Certain Death

Certain Death in the house! I was able to make it to the new (and super cool) Boulder County Open Space building in Longmont for the indroductory open house of the Lyons to Boulder Trail. AKA Certain Death Trail. Only I learned tonight that death may not be so certain. The concept is a trail corridor that travels from Lyons southeast to the Boulder Reservoir. So far, the general thought is that the county would like to use the existing feeder canal (which belongs to the Northern Colorado Water District). They realize that it will not be feasible to use the canal in all areas, so they are looking at putting a wide crusher fine trail somewhere within a mile or so wide swath that follows the canal (area is outlined in yellow, existing canal trail in red). They want to have the alignment figured out by the end of summer.

I heard a lot of interesting comments when I was there. Probably because I came early when most normal folk were still at work and all that was at the meeting were retirees and ranchers. Lots o' griping going on. I heard a few comments about sticks in spokes and ruining the character of the area. Anyone ever poached the canal trail? Character? Seriously. Let's put a big ass million dollar house in the middle of a field next to an drainage ditch and call it character? please. So beware of wealthy NIMBYS on this journey.

The Water Board hasn't given full consent either, to further confuse the issue. They've adapted a wait and see attitute on the project. County staff that I talked to said the Water Board had given the ok for the process but not necessarily the trail itself. Ready for more opinion? I can see the writing on the wall. County gets its shit together, folks get excited then BAM, Water Board says, "well, gee, I guess that wasn't what we were looking to do." I fear wastage of our tax dollars on this one. Guess I'm a bit pessimistic since we've been lobbying for this forever.

On a bright note, I did see town of Lyons staff Howard Armstrong and Jacque Watson in attendance. Don't worry, I reminded them to fill out comment cards. If there's one thing that I've learned in the public process, it's that giving your comments and direction EVERY STEP OF THE WAY really does make a difference. Here's two bullet points that I'm highlighting in my commentary:

1 - Get it done. We've been waiting for this long enough that we don't need to nitpick the alignment. Make it a crusher fine, keep it off existing roads and we're all happy.
2 - Keep it open at night. This project is being paid for with Transportation tax money that we already voted on in '07. Open Space rules are closed at night. This isn't Open Space, though, it's a commutor thru way and a regional connection, not a park. I fear that if we don't hammer on them to keep this open at night, they'll apply typical Open Space rules of governance.

[edit] I just had another thought. Not necessarily important enough to be a full #3, but worth noting. No need to put a trailhead anywhere except Lyons and Boulder. Trailheads along the alignment will do nothing more except create more traffic and piss of neighbors. We want this process to go smoothly enough. Besides, isn't the point to help get rid of traffic? :) [edit]

What can you do? Go to and do some more learning, look at maps, get yourself educated. After you get yourself all smart on the whole deal, email your educated comments to You'll then be put on their mailing list and you'll be updated of further ways you can help.

This is going to be huge. Huge I tell you. We just gotta keep the happer down on this one.


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Anonymous said...

Isn't water board ing torture?

Lidarman said...

Thanks Dave for the post. I wish I could have made the open house. It sounds like it was a very entertaining evening.

I hope this gets resolved before I get too old to ride.

redstone said...

I agree, Lidarman. I'll be happy to see this in my lifetime, but they are looking to have it rideable within a few years. Keep your fingers crossed.

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