Friday, January 05, 2007

General Principles Underlying Boulder Outdoor Coalition Trail Recommendations

Note: This post was written prior to the creation of this blog and as part of an earlier stage in the ongoing public debate over Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks policies. While somewhat dated, the post still raises important issues which are still relevant.

1. Comparable Trail Densities — The trail densities should be somewhat lower than trail densities of comparable HCAs and NAs.

2. Equitable Treatment of User Groups — In recognition of the many different visitor constituencies within our community we believe that the trail development plan should provide "something for everyone" and should not favor some groups at the expense of others.

3. Variable Length Options — People want to spend different amount of time and travel different. distances. Quality options should range from short to long with connection to adjacent Open Space Tracts (including Jefferson County OS).

4. Fine-tuning of Trail Alignments — Our proposed trails are approximate. We expect final alignments will be determined by local conditions including such things as soil types and the need to avoid locally sensitive areas (such as nesting sites).

5. Importance of Quality Trails — As we try to limit increasingly limit visitor presence to a small number of trails, it's increasingly important of these trails be designed to maximize the visitor experience. They should deliberately seeking to identify and provide access to quality destinations including inspirational viewpoints and areas of historical or geological interest. The trails should also be constructs so that "getting there is at least half the fun" with trails designed to meet the needs of all user groupsTrails rooted for their scenic value are more desirable than those that simply follow routes of convenience (e.g. old access roads for high-voltage power lines). . Loop trails are also widely seen as contributing as providing a more attractive user experience.

6. Visitor Restrictions — In general, environmental protection and user conflict resolution measures should employ the least restrictive method of achieving each objective. In addition, the process should be transparent with the environmental objectives and alternative strategies for achieving those objectives clearly and publically stated. The same principle should apply to efforts to address potential user conflicts.

7. Access — Parking facilities should be adequate to meet the demand. Inadequate parking which turns significant numbers of users away should be viewed and justified as a "restriction."

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