Upper Big Bluestem trail reopens

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View from the Upper Big Bluestem

View from the Upper Big Bluestem

The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department completed a major trail construction project south of Boulder this week and has now opened the trail to visitors.

The opening of the re-routed Upper Big Bluestem Trail on Thursday comes about eight months after OSMP crews began work to re-align the trail away from important stream corridors that provide habitats for black bears and other species. OSMP trail crews completed construction of the new alignment of Upper Big Bluestem, which is near the South Mesa Trailhead and connects to the Mesa Trail, with the assistance of the Mile High Youth Corps, OSMP’s Junior Ranger program and volunteer groups.

New construction on the new Upper Big Bluestem trail re-routed to accommodate new standards.

New construction on the new Upper Big Bluestem trail re-routed to accommodate new sustainability standards.

OSMP and community groups identified the re-routing of Upper Big Bluestem as a priority in the West Trail Study Area Plan, which guides OSMP’s long-term management policies for trails west of Boulder. The West Trail Study Area Plan allows dogs with an OSMP Voice and Sight tag to be off-leash on Upper Big Bluestem Monday through Friday. However, the plan requires guardians to leash their dogs on Saturday and Sunday while on the trail.

The building of Upper Big Bluestem’s new alignment followed OSMP sustainability standards that aim to build durable trails that last for decades and to limit landscape impacts. OSMP designed and constructed its trail grades and trail structures, such as steps and walls, to minimize changes to the surrounding landscapes and to reduce soil erosion. OSMP trails built according to its trail sustainability principles sustained little or no damage during the September flood.

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OSMP also reopened the following flood-damaged trails this week:

  • Lower Big Bluestem
  • Gregory Canyon Trail
  • Green Mountain Lodge Trail

As of today, OSMP has reopened about 95 percent of its trail system, which sustained significant damage during the September flood. A map detailing open OSMP trails is available here: http://bit.ly/1jLt5X6

It is important for users to remember that current OSMP trail conditions are far different from pre-flood conditions. Dangers include unseen hazards and large segments of trail surfaces that are rough, uneven and gullied. It is strongly recommended that visitors limit their activities to daylight hours and remain on-trail.

For more information on open trails and climbing areas, visit www.osmp.org

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