The origin story of Lake Pueblo State Park’s singletrack is similar to that of many mountain biking destinations across Colorado: Local cyclists wanted to expand their terrain, so they went out with picks and shovels.
The Southern Colorado Trail Builders, the nonprofit that formed through that construction nearly 20 years ago, maintains this was done under the gaze of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. But in a management plan released this spring, the agency points to “this history and lack of formal designation of the trails” as the impetus for a proper environmental assessment.
As Lake Pueblo’s popularity grew among riders, the land-owning Bureau of Reclamation raised concerns, said Adam Davidson, president of the Southern Colorado Trail Builders.
“That’s when the real diplomacy began,” he said.
The reaction hasn’t been as alarming as what sprang a few years ago from land managers theorizing to close the trail system sprawling more than 45 miles. Still, reaction to the management plan has been heated.
The Southern Colorado Trail Builders have joined critics in objecting proposals to eliminate some connections, especially the popular trail through Rock Canyon that Davidson called “the backbone of a trail experience on the south shore” in a Pueblo Chieftain letter.
Ten weeks have passed since the plan’s public comment period ended. Davidson’s message to riled riders? Pump the brakes.
“We’re still waiting on the second iteration” of the plan, he said, “but the conversations have been very promising in regards to retaining some of those critical connector trails.”
Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Monique Mills could not be reached last week. But in an email, she said she hoped to release an updated plan soon.
Important to note, Davidson said, was the current call to keep 90 percent of the trails — “a pretty cherry deal,” he said.
He added: “All sides have said they’re all looking forward to what this trail system can become.”