Friday, December 16, 2005

Trail Densities & Effects On Front Range Public Lands

Boulder Area Trails Coalition

Public discussions about trails are often quite emotional. Questions always arise about the effects of trails on the environment and about how much public access is appropriate. A few facts may help to put the discussions in context. We've gather some statistics about publicly owned lands and trails in Boulder County and surrounding areas in the hopes the data will add some perspective.

In the following table we've shown acreages, square miles (acreage divided by 640), and miles of trails on public lands managed by various local land management agencies. As a measure of the extent of the trail systems we've calculated a trail density factor (trail milage per square mile of land managed).

Finally, we've generated a worst case measure of possible trail impacts by assuming that each foot of trail devastates an 100 foot wide corridor of land and calculating the resulting percentage impact on the total property. It's important to note that we do not believe trail effects are anyway near that severe. The few studies we hear repetitively cited clearly indicate that trail effects, when any exist, are much lower.

Read the full article and look at the trail density tables.

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