Boulder County commissioners OK trails system plan for ‘Heil 2’ open space

heil_1From Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder County commissioners on Tuesday approved the proposed locations of future recreational trails on a 210-acre portion of the county’s Heil Valley Open Space south of Lyons.

The latest trail system alignments recommended by the Parks and Open Space Department staff would include a one-way, multiple-use trail loop on the west side of the “Heil 2” property, which lies north of Left Hand Creek on both sides of Geer Canyon Drive.

An earlier version of the plan would instead have put a single, two-way out-and-back path through that westside corridor — one in which hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians would encountered people walking or riding in the other direction.

The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance had sought the westside Heil 2 loop trail rather than one in which users would have to turn around at the end and encounter other single-trail users when returning to the Heil 2 trailhead.

The latest Heil 2 plan also includes a shorter loop trail on the south section of the property, something the Mountainbike Alliance had advocated as a “beginner’s trail” for less-experienced mountain cyclists and children in families visiting the county-owned open space property.

Steve Watts, the Mountainbike Alliance’s executive director, told commissioners Tuesday that the result will be “a cultural and recreational gem” in the county’s open space holdings.

“I think this is a big win for the community,” Watts said.

Still in the overall trail systems plan would be a trail on the east side of the Heil Valley 2 property, one that would be open to pedestrians and equestrians but not open to mountain bikers. That trail could eventually connect Heil 2 with the existing Heil Valley Ranch Geer Canyon trailhead to its north.

The staff’s recommended changes in an earlier version of the trail systems plan came after an April 28 hearing at which the commissioners said they’d like the staff to rethink the originally proposed one-way westside trail and see whether the beginner’s trail could also be added without having negative environmental and wildlife impacts…

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