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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Input invited on Escalante trail system west of Delta

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Dave Wasson and Timoteo Gallegos have seen firsthand how mountain bike trails in Fruita and Montrose draw outdoor recreationists from far and wide. They believe outdoor recreation opportunities not only draw visitors, but can drive economic development by providing the kind of experiences that appeal to employers and employees alike.

Wasson and Gallegos are members of the Delta Area Mountain Bikers Association, which has been working with the BLM and Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association (COPMOBA) to develop a multi-use trail system in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area just west of Delta.

While they are avid mountain bikers, they recognize the desire for a diverse trail system that will serve hikers and runners, as well as bike riders. They invite outdoor enthusiasts to join them Saturday, Oct. 28, to begin forming a vision for the Escalante Triangle. The kick-off celebration will provide an opportunity to tour and provide input and ideas for the new non-motorized trail system, in what the BLM has designated the Escalante Triangle Recreational Management Zone (RMZ).

COPMOBA will provide refreshments and lunch, and prizes and giveaways provided by REI and other sponsors will be raffled to participants.

DAMB and COPMOBA received a grant from REI, a national outdoor goods wholesaler, which was then matched by the Bureau of Land Management, to begin the planning of this new trail system. The granted funds will be used to develop a comprehensive plan of 30 miles of non-motorized singletrack trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.

The trails will utilize the public land that extends from the Escalante Rim Road north to the Gunnison River and from the Cactus Park area west to Escalante Canyon. The tract features scenic gulches and majestic views. This event is an opportunity for the public to view the area, identify the type of trails they would like to see, and provide comments and suggestions to the professional trail designers who will be on hand to listen to the public comments. Participants are encouraged to bring their mountain bikes and hiking shoes to participate in guided tours and a camp chair for the social gathering that follows.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. with an informational gathering at the event site and staging area, which will be near the intersection of Sawmill Mesa Road and Escalante Rim Road. To get to the site, leaving Delta taking 5th Street (which turns into Sawmill Mesa Road) west approximately five miles.

Personnel from COPMOBA, the BLM, DAMB, REI, trail design team, and other partners will be on site to provide in-depth information about the Escalante Triangle, to gather feedback, and to answer questions. Individuals will then be invited to tour the area by hiking or biking. High clearance vehicles may be required to gain access to some areas and shuttles will be provided for those that cannot access the area on their own. Bike riders can participate in an easy ride of about five miles, an intermediate ride of about eight miles, or a longer ride of about 13 miles for more experienced riders which will be guided through some of the triangle's more rugged and scenic areas. All rides and tours are planned to be approximately two hours in length, and the participants and the public are then invited to reconvene at 1:30 p.m. at the event staging area to discuss the area's features and provide input and ideas for the trail development.

For more information, contact COPMOBA at coordinator@copmoba.org or 970-901-4121.

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