East Shore Trail Environmental Assessment
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is considering whether to allow bicycle use on a two mile section of the East Shore Trail within the national park. The East Shore Trail runs roughly parallel to the east shore of Shadow Mountain Lake, which is located near the town of Grand Lake, Colorado.
The 1995 Grand County Headwaters Trails Master Plan included a goal to, "Provide high quality paved multi-use, multi-seasonal trails which link towns and recreational areas within Grand County." Trail proponents were successful in adding a provision to the RMNP wilderness legislation that allowed for consideration of bicycle use on the East Shore Trail within the park.
The wilderness legislation for RMNP (Public Law 111-11), which was passed by Congress in 2009, designated the East Shore Trail Area to "maximize the opportunity for sustained use of the Trail without causing harm to affected resources or conflicts among users." The East Shore Trail Area is not part of designated wilderness within the park. The legislation does not mandate that bicycles be allowed on the East Shore Trail, and the National Park Service (NPS) is following its normal decision making process to determine whether non-motorized bicycles should be allowed on the trail. For this reason, the NPS has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the effects of allowing bicycle use on the northern two miles of the East Shore Trail within the park. Two alternatives are analyzed in the EA:
Alternative A - No Action / Continue Current Management: The National Park Service would manage the East Shore Trail as it is currently. Pedestrian use would continue to be allowed along the entire two-mile section of trail and livestock use would continue to be allowed on the East Shore Trail north of its intersection with the Ranger Meadows Trail. The use of bicycles would not be permitted anywhere on the trail within the park.
Alternative B - Allow Bicycle Use with Minor Trail Modifications: This alternative proposes minor improvements to a two-mile portion of the East Shore Trail within the national park to accommodate bicycle use and other existing trail uses. The proposed improvements include construction of a short reroute of the trail for the purposes of improving public safety, trail sustainability, and to avoid impacts to natural and cultural resources. A number of management strategies are included in this alternative to avoid conflicts among users.
We welcome your comments on this project and the EA. The EA will be available for public review and comment for 45 days. Your comments must be received in writing by close of business on March 3, 2014.
The preferred method for reviewing the EA and submitting comments is to use this website. Click on "Open for Comment" on the left side of this web page.
You may also submit your written comments to us in other ways:
• At the scheduled public meetings
• By mail: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado 80517
• By fax: (970) 586-1397
• By Express Delivery: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 U.S. Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517
• Hand deliver: Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado or to the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 16018 U.S. Highway 34, Grand Lake, Colorado 80447
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying in-formation in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.
Vaughn L. Baker
Chief, Branch of Planning & Compliance
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517