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New trail proposed on Raider Ridge, near eastern city limits

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Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 9:45 PM
A new trail may be built between the SkyRidge neighborhood and the top of Raider Ridge.

A new trail may be built this fall between the SkyRidge neighborhood and the top of Raider Ridge.

The Sky Raider Trail would run from Molas Drive to an intersection with several other trails, including Down N’ Out and Rocky Road, according to city conceptual plans. The new connection would start along the Power Line Trail just north of the short gravel access path that connects Molas Drive to Power Line.

It would replace a social trail that goes straight up the ridge, and it would be less susceptible to erosion, said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Trails 2000.

It also would create new route options that are not as long as other loops in the trail system, she said.

“It is, one, sensible and something most people expected when they moved here,” said Seth Furtney, a SkyRidge resident.

City staff met with neighbors last week about the new trail and generally heard support for it, Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz told the Natural Land Advisory Board this week.

However, some neighbors are concerned about trail users parking along Molas Drive, she said.

The city cannot limit parking along a public street to only residents in the neighborhood and their visitors, she said. But the city would encourage trail users to continue parking at the Horse Gulch Trailhead, she said.

Neighbors are also concerned about erosion on the access path between Molas and the trail. Erosion control could be addressed when the trail is built, Metz said.

The short connector path between Molas Drive and Power Line is about 100 feet long and has a 15 to 20 percent grade, and it could benefit from some shallow steps on one side that would make it easier for pedestrians to use, Furtney said. The gravel on the trail can make it treacherous, especially for those headed downhill, he said.

Before the trail is built, the city plans to hire a consultant to examine the proposed alignment to make sure it doesn’t have unacceptable impacts on habitat or cause other problems, Metz said.

She couldn’t say exactly how long the trail will be because the route is in the conceptual stages.

The trail could be mechanically cut and then finished with hand tools, similar to other trails in the Horse Gulch system, she said.

The city plans to accept comments about the trail until Aug. 22. Comments can be emailed to rec@durangogov.org.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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