A local landowner is proposing a new trailhead off N. Mildred Road to access the Geer Natural Area trail system.
Keith Evans has already leased 40 acres of his property adjacent to the Geer Natural Area to the city of Cortez for public access. The area is northwest of Southwest Memorial Hospital and the Carpenter Natural Area, and is a popular recreation area for the town.
Evans built a five-mile network of public biking and hiking trails that connect into the 10 miles of trails at Geer and Carpenter areas. Now he plans to build a trail to the east that will connect neighborhoods off N. Mildred Road (County Road 26) to the open space area.
“It’s a good plan and fits in with what is there,” Evans said. “A lot of people are using the trails, and more races and events are happening.”
Evans is working with the Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) to establish a conservation easement on 50 acres of his property to preserve public recreation on the trails, including the new access from N. Mildred Road.
“It will permanently protect public access and open space for biking and hiking on that land, even it sells,” said MLC director Jon Leibowitz.
Evans’ is asking county planners for permission to subdivide a portion of his land to set apart his home parcel from the conservation easement.
The plan was submitted to the Montezuma County commissioners, who gave preliminary approval. A public hearing is scheduled for July 14.
Montezuma Land Conservancy received a $100,000 GOCO grant to preserve 50 acres of the Evans property adjacent to Carpenter Natural Area and Geer Park.
The proposed trailhead at N. Mildred Road does not include a new parking lot. The trailhead would have a gate for pedestrians and bicycles. If approved, the trail would open to the public next year.
Also a Geer, volunteers recently added 1/2 mile of new trails designed for kids to mountain bike. The beginner trails begin at the Road L trailhead.