New Trail, Big Scale
Grassroots activists chart a grand path through Colorado's foothills.
By Rachel Brand
The concept of a Colorado Front Range Trail, which first saw public
light in 1999 as a north-south path through the soft foothills between
the Rocky Mountains and the eastern plains of the state, matured
during two years of planning into a much more ambitious 725-mile
network of trails from Fort Collins on the Wyoming border to Trinidad
near New Mexico.
Courtesy Colorado State
It was inspired by a 250-mile trail through central Europe from
Vienna to Prague, a web of former salt, silver, and amber trade
routes that winds around castles, historic villages, meadows, and
lakes. Once complete, Colorado's version"a legacy for the
state," according to Tom Glass of the Colorado Parks Boardwould
connect mining towns, state parks, cities, and college towns. The
number of local trails would increase exponentially, promoting biking
and walking to work for the rapidly growing population of 3.8 million
people who live in the Front Range. Best of all, most of the network
is in place or planned: With 190 miles of the trail already built,
260 miles more will be built in local jurisdictions, and 160 miles
will travel along low-use roads. In the communities the trail would
link, there is strong support among those who see it as a spur to
tourism and economic development.
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