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    Trails Talk Breaks New Ground

    Jeffco Open Space staff engaged members of the community in the first Trails Talk, on April 16 at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center.

    Trails Talk spanned the following topics.

    JCOS Trails Philosophy
    The philosophy: Provide safe and enjoyable non-motorized trail experiences for hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians with varying abilities through innovative and inclusive design, management and stewardship.

    JCOS Master Plan Goals
    View the 2014-2019 Open Space Master Plan here: http://jeffco.us/parks/about/open-space-master-plan/

    New Experiences
    Our 2014 Jeffco Open Space Master Plan identifies a goal to build 25 miles of new trails by 2019.

    Field Testing New Design Elements
    New and existing trails that are restored will feature innovative designs to enhance safety and the visitor experience. We will test new designs in selected locations, monitor their durability, and ask about the user experience. Once a design is ‘ground-tested’ with good results, it will be included in our Trail Guidelines for use in similar situations.

    Stewardship/Trail Maintenance
    We are developing a new tool to assess the maintenance needs of our trails called the Annual Inventory Report. This system will classify our trails into three categories for allocation of time, talent and materials.
    Green – acceptable
    Yellow – needs attention soon
    Red – needs attention now 

    Designated as a safety concern, the red-rated trails will be prioritized and organized by staff as volunteer projects for individuals, groups, businesses and service organizations.

    Trail Difficulty Guide
    This guide for trail users reflects the difficulty level of specific trails. This rating system is similar to the ski industry’s green circle for beginner, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for advanced skills or fitness. You can find the guide at the bottom of the web page: http://jeffco.us/parks/recreation/

    Trail Conditions
    This resource will provide up-to-date conditions (eg, clear, muddy, icy, snow-packed).

    These three tools will be used together to allow users to make informed decisions about their recreation experience, as well as clearly communicate upcoming stewardship opportunities and help define maintenance priorities.

    Community Involvement
    Another goal in our 2014-2019 Master Plan is to engage more volunteers in stewarding natural and park resources, one of which happens to be our popular trails. In order to accomplish this, as well as our goal to create new experiences, we have restructured our trails staff and resources to move from a "do it ourselves" approach, to a new "do it with others" philosophy. Our staff is ready to organize and lead volunteers in rewarding trail construction and stewardship work. Together we can make our trails better than ever! Sign up for upcoming projects and trainings: www.jeffcoopenspace.eventbrite.com External Link Icon

    Working Groups
    JCOS will be forming working groups to begin collaborating on various topics. Groups will be comprised of staff, advocacy groups, industry partners and interested citizens. Each working group will have a clear purpose and timeline for results. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

    Upcoming working group topics:

    • New Mountain Bike Skills Area at the Apex Park Trailhead
    • Single-Use Trails

    If you would like more information or are interested in serving on one of the groups, please email Dave Davenport, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, or call 303-271-5915.

    The evening concluded with participants visiting information stations on the Master Plan, Volunteer Services, Flood Recovery and Working Groups. At each station, the community was able to have face-to-face discussions with JCOS staff. Our actions reflect our values – Innovation, Caring and Sharing, Collaboration, Trust, Balance and Stewardship. With these values, and your involvement, we can find solutions and ways to provide a great experience for our users.

    Dave Davenport
    Outdoor Recreation Management Coordinator

    May 8, 2014

    Last Updated: 5-8-2014