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8 - Recommended alignment for Trail #13 in the Eldorado Mountain/Doudy Draw Trail Study AreaCITY OF BOULDER OPEN SPACE BOARD OF TRLJSTEES AGENDA ITEM MEETING DATE: May 14, 2008 AGENDA TITLE: Recommended Alignment for Trail #13 in the Eldorado Mountain /Doudy Draw Trail Study Area. PRESENTERIS: Open Space and Mountain Parks Mike Patton, Director Jim Reeder, Land and Facilities Division Manager Steve Armstead, Visitor Master Plan Implementation Coordinator EXECL?TNE SUMI~Z~RY: Staff has determined a recommended alignment for Trail #13, the last trail alignment required to complete alignments for new trails in the Eldorado Mountain /Doudy Draw Trail Study Area (E11~1/DD TSA). Trail # 13 will be a multi-use trail requiring equestrians, bikes and on-leash dogs to stay on trail. Trail #13 is the northern half of the connecting trails between Doudy Draw Trail and Fo«~ler Trail. The recommended alignment for Trail #13 will join with Trail #14 near the old railroad grade and use the lower alignment option to proceed west to Spring Brook and then follo~~~ along the mesa above Spring Brook to connect to the Denver Water Board Road at the merest end of Trail 14. (See map, Attachment A.) The recommended alignment stays away from the edge of Spring Brook and avoids crossing Spring Brook. The staff recommendation is lased on an analysis of environmental, trail and visitor experience suitability and community input. Staff hosted a community field trip and posted maps of alternatives and the suitability analysis on the OSNIP website for review and comment. STAFF REC014IArIENDATION: No action is requested. Staff is interested in any comments from the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) on the recommended alignment for Trail #13. C"OMNIUNITY SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENTS AND IMPACTS: • Economic: Open Space and Mountain Parks contributes to the economic vitality goal of the city as it provides the context for the diverse and vibrant economic system that sustains services for residents. The land system and the quality of life it represents attract visitors and help businesses to recruit and retain quality employees. • Environmental: New resource impacts ri~ill occur during trail construction and the associated increase in visitor use on net~~ trails. Providing sustainable trails designed to encourage visitors to stay on trail is preferred over unmanaged use in AGENDA ITEM # 8 PAGE 1 S:AOSl~'IP'~OSBT1114emos 03'.08-051~'~.Tr 13 08-0514'~.Trail 13 OSBT l~'femadoc sensitive natural areas and the impacts associated with off-trail travel and undesignated trail dej~elop~nent. The proposed location of the trail and on-trail policies should minimize many of these impacts and afford greater protection to sensitive resources in the Doudy Draw Natural Area. A monitoring program will allow on-going assessment of the success of management activities and allow adjustments to be made, as needed, to ensure that resources are adequately protected. Social: The construction of Trail #13 will provide a desired trail connection between Doudy Draw Trail and the Denver Water Board Canal Road. New hiking, on-leash dog walking, equestrian and bicycling opportunities will become available with the completion of the trail. OTHER IMPACTS: • Fiscal: Construction costs are expected to be under $10,000 and will include a significant volunteer effort. A precise construction estimate will be possible after site-specific trail construction details are determined. • Staff time: This would be part of the normal work plan for trail staff with ; significant contribution by volunteers. PUBLIC FEEDBACIs: Extensive public discussion and input on trails and conceptual trail corridors occurred during the Trail Study Area (TSA) planning process and the alignment process. Staff posted aligrunent alternatives and the draft suitability analysis on the OSMP website and provided a public field trip on July 19, 2007 to look over and discuss the alternatives. Staff received comments from many individuals and several community groups including PLAN Boulder County, Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance (BMA}, Friends of Boulder Open Space (FOBOS), Boulder County Horse Association (BCHA), Boulder County Audubon Society (BCAS) and Boulder Area Trails Coalition (BATCO). Comments included suggestions on the alignment minimizing impacts to native grasslands and Spring Brook, addressing trail sections underlain by Pierre Shale, and considerations for trail sustainability and visitor experience. This item is being heard at this public meeting, advertised in the Daily Camera on May 11, 2008. ANALYSIS: Backgromid Opportunities exist to enhance visitor access in the EM/DD TSA by providing new trails to popular destinations that will lessen the impact. of current visitor use on sites with sensitive natural and cultural resources. New sustainable trails will be built while existing undesignated trails «~ill be reclaimed. New trails have been located to avoid sensitive resources and minimize impacts. Trail objectives identif°ied for the conceptual trail corridor and alignment in the EMi'DD TSA plan includes: • Construct a multi-use loop trail that connects Doudy Draw trail to the Denver Water Board Canal Road. • Equestrians, bikes, and dogs on leash are allowed only if they remain on trail. AGENDA ITEM # 8 PAGE 2 S:AOSl~'IP'~OSBT1114emos 03'.08-051~'~.Tr 13 08-0514'~.Trail 13 OSBT l~'femadoc • Trail will be located on diverse terrain in grassland and forested environments and will avoid sensitive riparian and mature forest areas. • The trail will be routed away from and out. of sight of Lindsay Pond, ahigh-value habitat area. Staff, with the assistance of a trail design contractor, determined possible alignment options based on the conceptual trail corridor identified in the Eldorado Mountain / Doudy Draw TSA Plan. The conceptual trail cotY-idor for Trail # 13 proceeded from the junction near Doudy Draw north and west around the side of the forested mesa and crossed through Spring Brook to connect to the Denver Water Board Road. (See map, Attachment B.) The recommended alignment does not cross through Spring Brook. Staff recommends that the trail continue along the east side of the Spring Brook drainage and connects to the west end of Trail # 14 and the location of the Goshawk Ridge Trail pedestrian bridge over the Denver Water Board Canal. Staff evaluated two alignments, an upper and lower alternative, along the north side of the forested mesa to connect from Trail #14 to the Spring Brook section. Staff is recommending the lower alignment option. (See rnap, Attachment A.) The lower alignment as originally aligned has been modified (located lower on the slope) to improve the junction ~~ith Trail #14. The adjustments reduce the need for a section of parallel trail between Trail #13 and Trail #14 on the mesa side which will likely reduce crosscutting and allow Trail #13 to avoid crossing an existing soil slump. (See map, Attachment. C.) The alignment modification requires minor adjustments to two drainage crossings that will not increase impacts to vegetation or wildlife resources. Trail 13 Alternatives and Recommendation Upper Alternative This alignment alternative connects with Trail #14 in a small ravine west of Doudy Draw Trail and continues west up the side of the ravine to the rim of the mesa. The trail follows north and then ripest along the escarpment of the mesa. (See map, Attachment A.) Lower Alternative This alignment alternative connects with Trail #14 in a small ravine west of Doudy Draw Trail near the old railroad grade and contours across the side of the mesa north and west. (See map, Attachment A.) Staffrecomrnended ali ire rn~ent~. LowerAlternutive Staff believes this alignment does the best to balance key issues by providing a trail that «i11: • minimize impacts to sites with abundant native grasses (old pediment grassland communities), • minimize the trail and wildlife impacts along the mesa's forested edge, and • provide a sustainable trail that minimizes erosion. The placement of the trail on a slope with less stable soils underlain by Pierre shale will be mitigated by a sustainable trail design rr~ith adequate mater drainage, moderate trail AGENDA ITEM # 8 PAGE 3 S:AOSl~'IP'~OSBT1114emos 03'.08-051~'~.Tr 13 08-0514'~.Trail 13 OSBT l~'femadoc grades and vegetated restoration of back slopes. Visitor advisement signs or temporary trail closures may be appropriate during periods of persistent ~~~et and muddy conditions. Alternative considered but not selected: Upper Alignment This alignment is not the preferred alignment because: • The trail ti~~ould cross two sections of the mesa where there are important native grass communities (old pediment grasslands). • The trail follows along the mesa and forest edge which is important wildlife habitat used by ungulates for bedding and cover. • The section of trail looping across the eastern most extension of the forested mesa poses a high risk for cross-cutting 1~etween the trail sections through an area of high quality grassland. 1~lonitoi~ng Itilonitoring activities will help inform the success of implemention recommendations and allo«~ adjustment of management approaches and activities as needed. Visitor compliance monitoring will occur during the first t«~o years for on-trail requirements for bikes, equestrians and on-leash dogs. Changes to the types of allowed visitor uses will be considered if compliance with on-trail and dog control requirements do not meet management goals. Assessing priority weed species in the trail corridor along with treatment before and after trails are constructed and continued monitoring will provide an adaptive approach to weed management. Wildlife and rare plant monitoring efforts will provide information about sensitive natural resources and inform management actions that can address observed impacts. Submitted by: Michael D. Patton, Director Jim Reeder, Division Manager Steve Armstead, VMP Coordinator Attachments: A. Trail #13 Recommended Alignment Map B. Eldorado Mountain /' Doudy Draw TSA Plan Map C. Trail #13 Alignment Alternatives Nlap AGENDA ITEM # 8 PAGE 4 S:AOSl~'IP'~OSBT1114emos 03'.08-051~'~.Tr 13 08-0514'~.Trail 13 OSBT l~'femadoc /.. - ~ -r . ~ '~' 1~~,.ID~'4 ~ ~ . ;. rY ~1 ~"` - 1. r;r~ . f, as ~•. ~' TcFil % L_„ er a ~q;~ ~R ~~ . e=t~:w..; ' Y; 1.. 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