Forest damage restricts biking on Grand Mesa
The U.S. Forest Service is restricting mountain biking in the Grand Mesa National Forest on designated routes because of damage to some areas of the forest, officials said.
The decision calls for closing several user-created downhill routes and includes a ban on mechanized travel of designated ski trails during the winter, Forest Service Supervisor Charlie Richmond said.
Access to more than 300 miles of existing routes remains, and another 27 miles are open only to bikers, hikers and horseback riders. The decision doesn’t affect hiker-only trails around Mesa and Ward lakes or the Crag Crest National Recreation Trail.
Additionally, new trails will be created during the next five years as money is available to build them, Richmond said.
“Providing additional mechanized trail routes will add to the variety of recreational opportunities available on the Grand Mesa National Forest, especially during the summer months when mountain bikers are looking to escape the heat of the valley,” he said in a news release.
“The Forest Service has worked closely with our partners to develop the best mountain biking opportunities on the Grand Mesa, and we look forward to working with them and the public to construct and mark all these new routes during the next few years.”
The new mountain bike routes will be located in four areas:
The Scales Lake Complex on Grand Mesa can be accessed through the Mesa Top trail head. Most of the 16.1 miles of routes in the complex are old logging roads or single-track paths that overlay the same trails that cross-country skiers and snowshoers use during the winter.
The Flowing Park Complex can be accessed through the Mesa Top trail head, and it connects to about seven miles of existing and under-construction routes.
The complex connects to about 34 miles of the Flowing Park Loop Trail and the Kannah Creek trail system, which is heavily used by horseback riders during the fall.
The Mesa Lakes Complex continues to focus on the popular West Bench trail, as well as another 3.5-mile trail from the Mesa Lakes Ranger Station to the old Mesa Creek ski area at Colorado Highway 65 and the area known as “sledding hill.” The complex includes the Lake of the Woods, Bull Creek Cutoff, Lily Lake and Deep Creek trails.
The Fruita Division Complex includes the Turkey Flats, Haypress and Reservoir No. 1 trails.
For information, contact the Grand Valley Ranger District at 970-242-8211, the Grand Mesa Visitors Center at 970-856-4153, or download maps of the routes at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/gmug.