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Most sections of the paved Summit County Recreational Pathway System are plowed, swept and open to users
Contact: Jason Lederer, Summit County Open Space & Trails: 970-668-4213
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Recreational Pathway System (Recpath) is now open for the 2019 season. With the exception of the Tenmile Canyon section, between Frisco and Copper Mountain, and the Vail Pass section, between Copper and Vail Pass, the County’s 38-mile network is now fully plowed and swept.
“The opening of the Recpath is one of the most celebrated signs of spring in Summit County,” Open Space & Trails Senior Resource Specialist Jason Lederer said. “There has been a lot of anticipation this year, following an extremely snowy winter. Backcountry trails will likely remain snowpacked and wet for several more weeks, so we ask people to stick to the Recpath for now in order to avoid damaging natural surface trails while they dry out.”
The Tenmile Canyon Recpath typically opens significantly later than other stretches of the system, because it runs beneath numerous avalanche paths in the Tenmile Range. The Open Space and Trails Department contracts with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to evaluate spring snowpack and avalanche conditions to determine when the Recpath is safe to open to the public. This stretch of the pathway will likely open even later than usual this year because of large amounts of heavy debris from more than 20 avalanches that covered the pathway in March.
"We appreciate everyone’s patience and diligence in staying off the Recpath in Tenmile Canyon while we work to address this historic situation,” Summit County Open Space & Trails Director Brian Lorch said.
This summer, Summit County will conduct two Recpath improvement projects along Swan Mountain Road to provide enhanced shoulders and facilities for cyclists. One project is located near the Blue River Sanitation District plant at Farmer's Korner; the other is on the opposite end of Swan Mountain Road near Cove Boulevard. Construction crews will maintain detours and traffic control on Swan Mountain Road, and the Recpath will remain open throughout construction.
“These locations where the Recpath shares the roadway have typically been areas of concern for cyclists,” Lorch said. “At-grade improvements will enhance safety, traffic flow and overall rider experience near these intersections.”
The March avalanches have delayed construction of the Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway project south of Copper Mountain. The Federal Highway Administration, in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, Summit County and Colorado Department of Transportation, now plans to bid the project this fall.
“The good news is that project funding is largely in place, and design and permitting are complete,” Lederer said. “Despite the delay, the project is a priority to all partners and remains on track for construction in 2020.”
Due to recent regulatory changes, Class 1 electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) will be permitted on the Summit County Recpath, starting this season. A Class 1 e-bike is equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. It ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph. Class 2, Class 3 and unclassified electric bicycles, and all other devices powered by electric motors, are prohibited on the Recpath, with the exception of mobility devices used to assist people with disabilities.
Although the Recpath system is open, wet and icy spots are likely, and users may encounter workers and maintenance vehicles. Recpath users are urged to exercise caution and slow down when approaching work areas or vehicles.
For more information about the Summit County Recreational Pathway, contact the Open Space & Trails Department at 970-668-4060, or visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/OpenSpace.