A landowner has added five more miles of single-track trail adjacent to Geer Park in Cortez.
Keith Evans and the city of Cortez have signed a non-monetary lease agreement that allows public access to Evans’ property for hiking and biking. The 40-acre parcel has ready-to-ride trails over rolling terrain.
“I’d say it’s beginner to advanced,” Evans says. “I wanted to share my trails with the public and encourage people to get outside and exercise.”
An avid mountain biker, Evans built the trails over seven years using hand tools. The trail is a large loop with twists and turns, short climbs, fast descents and good flow.
“It’s a great place for kids to learn technical biking skills and etiquette, and it has easy access for Cortez residents,” Evans said.
On Friday, Evans was taking down the no-trespassing signs and putting up signs for sections of trail he’s naming after Beatle songs, including “Twist and Shout,” and “Helter Skelter.”
“I’m happy to do it, and ask that people respect the land and stay on the designated trail route – be courteous,” he said.
The addition brings the total single-track in the open-space area north west of the hospital to nearly 10 miles.
Mountain bikers are encouraged to begin the route at the west parking lot for the Carpenter Trail off Lebanon Road. Take the lower dirt trail to the north, climb the mesa and continue to an old fence with an opening for the new section. Follow the signs.
The combined Geer Park-Carpenter Natural Area already contains about 5 miles of biking and hiking trails. Cortez recently purchased the land and dedicated it to Pfc. George Raymond Geer, a local veteran killed in the Iraq War.
Next year, a side-by-side walking path will be built around a pond in Geer Park, and a parking lot and trailhead are planned off Road L.
Parks and recreation director Dean Palmquist said the city deserves credit for setting aside open space.
It’s long-term investment for Cortez,” he said.
City manager Shane Hale praised Evans.
“This is such an awesome example of a landowner with a bigger community vision,” he said. “His contribution is key to the continuity of a really nice trail system. The old adage ‘if you build it they will come’ definitely applies here.”