COMBA/JCOS Public Forum Success

A few weeks ago, we told you that the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) had set up the first ever public meeting between the Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) land managers and the mountain bike community. COMBA board member Gary Hatton tells us that the meeting with JCOS went well. Below is a meeting report that Gary sent to us:

Thank you again to all who attended the Public Forum with Jefferson County Open Space! It was great to see over 200 local mountain bikers gather to rally support for our community and our favorite trails. The sense of cohesiveness and cooperation within our user group is now clear for all to see, and marks us as an important user group. For those who were unable to attend, here is a brief recap:

Yielding:
This season there has been increased monitoring and subsequent ticketing regarding the issue of yielding. JCOS staff indicated that this step up in enforcement activities is a result of increased complaints about mountain bikers failing to yield the trail properly, received from all user groups, including other riders. Jefferson County passed its yielding regulation in 1996, and it has not changed since that time. Many of the cyclists in attendance, however, expressed concern that the current yielding statute is vague and subjective. Many riders who spoke argued that the directive to “communicate and pass safely” means different things to different people. They also respectfully argued that the county’s enforcement actions, particularly those at Lair o’ the Bear, have been unfair and overly aggressive. County officials said they were working to make the yielding rules more visible to open space users, noting that they recently posted the policy in a more visible spot on their website.

Trail Maintenance:
In a very informative and upbeat presentation, Jefferson County Trails Supervisor Kim Frederick said that much of the trail work completed this summer was needed due to maintenance that has been deferred in recent years, due to a shift in resources towards building new trail. Kim presented slides showing the evolution of trails at Mt. Falcon and Apex, including before-and-after pictures that explained the work done by his team this season. He also included images highlighting cases where users, including but not limited to mountain bikers, caused trail widening by going around technical features. He made a very polite emphasis that the goal of their work is to maintain the trails in a responsible and sustainable manner, not to tailor them to favor or exclude any particular user group.

The attendees who spoke all voiced support for trail maintenance. There were some great comments on how techniques for bike-specific trail features could fit in with existing Jefferson County maintenance/development strategy. Many points were made that changing bike technology and an increasing population of trail users point to the need to consider measures to separate traffic by mode of travel, including the possibility of bike only trails.

. . .

The Forum was a positive and productive experience for all who participated, but it is only the start of a process of dialogue. COMBA wants to assure the mountain bike community that follow-up on this successful event is in the works. There will be a meeting between COMBA and JCOS to analyze recommendations from the forum—including recommendations taken after the forum or via email—and to create a process for addressing those issues. COMBA will report back to members as this process of dialogue continues with more information about how the situation is developing.

Please stay tuned for more developments from the Forum on COMBA.org.

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