More Trails and Counting in 2020
The Solstice mountain bike trail in Salida, Colorado, needs your help. A proposed mining expansion on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land would overlap with the Solstice trail, requiring the trail to either be moved, or abut an open pit mine.
If you’ve visited Salida, there’s a good chance you’ve ridden the Solstice trail back to town or to your campsite after a great day riding the rainbow trails on Methodist Mountain south of Salida. Imagine whipping through piñons, enjoying sweeping valley views with mountain peaks in the background, while riding next to an active mining operation in the foreground. That’s not an enjoyable riding experience. The public commend period is open, and mountain bikers should share thoughts on the proposal by August 13th.
The BLM’s environmental assessment of the mining proposal suggests three outcomes:
1. “Alternative A – Operator Proposed Action” — BLM approves the entire 62-acre proposal. This would mean destroying and rebuilding the top third of Solstice further east. The remaining two-thirds of the trail will have only a 30-foot buffer to the edge of mining operations.
2. “Alternative B – No Bike Trail Disturbance” — This would allow a 41-acre expansion, and would not require redesigning or relocating the Solstice Trail. However, the expansion footprint would parallel the eastern edge of the entire existing trail, with only a 30-foot buffer.
3. “Alternative C – (No Action) – Denial of Road Realignment and Expansion Proposal” – BLM denies any expansion on BLM land, with no impact on the Solstice trail.
Both the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Salida Mountain Trails are urging the BLM to deny Alternative A, and don’t support Alternative A or B in their current forms. Apart from denying the proposed mining expansion altogether as in Alternative C, the only viable and acceptable alternative is to modify Alternative B so a larger 200-foot buffer between the reduced mine expansion and the existing Solstice trail can better protect the trail experience.
The Solstice trail opened in 2019 after six years in the making, thanks to the hard work of Salida Mountain Trails. Their advocacy and stewardship included four years of working with the BLM on the required Environment Assessment process, and two years of trail construction funded via state trail grants.
For more information to inform your own unique and original comment, review comments from Salida Mountain Trails, review the Hardrock Main Pit project description from the BLM, review the 141-page Environmental Assessment from the BLM, and/or read coverage of the issue in the Colorado Sun. Submit your comment by August 13th.
Thanks for being an awesome advocate!