OSMP opens a few trails in Chautauqua

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After historic rain and flooding that caused extensive damage to trails, trailheads and natural resources, the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) announced that it will open a limited number of trails in Chautauqua on Saturday, Sept. 21.

OSMP anticipates opening up more trails within the week. However, many trails in the system will require substantial rebuilding, and OSMP asks for the public’s patience as the department rebuilds and restores those trails.

“We understand that the public is anxious to get out on the trails,” said Mike Patton, director of the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department. “We know that OSMP is a place where visitors go to reduce stress. We want to express our deep appreciation for our visitors’ patience at this time.”

Chautauqua trails that will be opened on Saturday are:

  • A portion of Chautauqua trail
  • Bluebell Road to the shelter
  • Bluebell Spur
  • Bluebell Mesa
  • A portion of the Ski Jump trail

Trails will be opened from dawn to dusk on-trail only because of existing safety risks. Trails will be closed at night because of hazards not visible in the dark. Please respect the fact that ALL other OSMP trails remain closed under an emergency order.

“We have worked as hard as possible in the days after the storm to assess damage and safety dangers,” said Patton. “We hope to re-open more trails in the next week.”

There are some potential safety risks on trails slated to be re-opened. Current risks on the trails may include rocky and gullied terrain, as well as other potential hazards associated with a major flood event. OSMP stresses that re-opened trails will not be of the same quality residents have seen in the past.

Patton also wanted to express his gratitude for the outpouring of offers to help rebuild trails, and restore natural areas. OSMP staff is prioritizing volunteer projects. Volunteer opportunities will be posted at osmp.org as soon as projects are identified.

More trails to open

According to Tom Isaacson, Open Space Board of Trustees , the next best candidates for reopening are the Sanitas Ridge/Dakota Ridge Loop (the Sanitas Valley trail is a mess) and the North/South Shanahan loop . After that, maybe Marshall Mesa. The Boulder Valley Ranch area also fared relatively well.

The Open Space Board is meeting Wednesday Sept 25 at 6pm at Council Chambers.  The response to the flood — both logistical and financial — will be on the agenda.  Users with an opinion on priorities for reopening the system, or any other relevant topic, should feel welcome to speak at the meeting.


What can you do?

Until further notice, please be respectful of the trail closures in place.

Local advocacy groups such as the Boulder Trail Runners and the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance have already begun to organize groups to help rebuild. The Boulder Area Trail Organization will be holding a meeting on Monday in Longmont to address volunteer efforts and finally the OSMP will also be organizing trail reconstruction projects. Contact them if you are interested helping to rebuild.

The OSMP released a quick pictorial survey (.pdf) of the damage on Sept. 17 which included  11 of its 19 Open Space zones.

upper mcclintock trail

Washed out Saddle Rock trail

More photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/bouldercolorado/

via Jim Reeder, Open Space and Mountain Parks, (303) 859-1555

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