A 24-mile trail expansion project at Phil’s World recreation area east of Cortez has been completed.
Trail construction began in spring 2018, and the last few miles were completed this fall.
There are now about 51 miles of non-motorized trails to explore in the section of Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Trust Land.
The new single-track trails were built in cooperation with the BLM Tres Rios District, Southwest Colorado Cycling Association and Southwest Conservation Corps. They are open to mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.
The new Cash Canyon and Simon Draw trailheads are accessed from parking lots on County Road L and County Road M, respectively. The new routes also are connected to the original trail system reached from the main trailhead parking lot off U.S. Highway 160.
“The new trails have provided natural extensions of the existing system with flow-style trails, but they also include sections with increased levels of technicality,” BLM Field Manager Connie Clementson stated in an email.
Two of the more challenging mountain biking trails are Poquito Burrito and Seldom Seen.
The Simon Draw routes have become popular for hikers and horses.
“The scenery and trail design are making these trails particularly appealing to non-mechanized users,” Clementson said.
The intent of the “stacked loop” trail design allows users to choose trail lengths in 1-mile increments.
The added trails continue the theme of directional travel for cyclists at Phil’s World. Two small sections, the NNout and $2 Crossing, are bi-directional in order to minimize resource impacts.
Expanding the trail system, and adding the two parking areas, has helped to relieve pressure at the main U.S. 160 trailhead parking lot and on older trails, officials said.
Newly installed trail counters showed there were 3,500 visitors this year at the Cash Canyon trailhead, and 5,000 visitors at the Simon Draw Trailhead.
The new trails include: Seldom Seen, 2.5 miles; Doc Sarvis, 3.5 miles; Talon, 2.1 miles; Canal, 2.4 miles; Poquito Burrito, 2.4 miles; Highline, 2.5 miles; Cash Money, 1 mile; Abbzu, 1.3 miles; and Inner Loop, 6.4 miles.
Public comment sought on Painted HandThe BLM Tres Rios District seeks comment on an environmental analysis for improved access to the Painted Hand historical site.
The ancient Pueblo and its distinctive rock art is a primary feature of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
But in 2018, it was discovered that an access road crossed private land that did not have a formal easement in place.
The proposed action would allow the BLM to move the road completely onto BLM-managed lands to create legal vehicle access and upgrade it to a two-lane all-weather road. In addition, the BLM would improve the current parking area to include up to 20 spaces, including three oversize spaces for trailers or RVs.
Additional facilities such as signs, restrooms and picnic tables could be constructed later, and 250 feet of steep, erosive trail would be reclaimed. Construction could take two months and disturb 6.7 acres, of which 3 acres would be reclaimed.
Under Alternative B, the BLM would reroute the road, but it would be narrower, and the parking area would be smaller, with up to five spaces. Additional facilities would be limited to interpretive signs, and 250 feet of steep, erosive trail could be reclaimed. This alternative would disturb 5.2 acres, of which 3 acres would be reclaimed.
How to commentThe environmental assessment and comment form is available for review online at: https://go.usa.gov/xwNqx.
Paper copies are available by calling the Tres Rios Field Office at 970-403-4250, and comments also may be mailed to: BLM-Tres Rios Office, Attn: Painted Hand Road Reroute project, 29211 Colorado Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323
Comments should be substantive in nature and need to be submitted to the Tres Rios Field Office by close of business (4:30 p.m.) Dec. 4.
For questions regarding the proposed project or for additional project-specific information, please contact Tracy Perfors, planning and environmental coordinator, at 970-403-4250.