Input sought by county for future trails

RBC I The Wagon Wheel Trail System, organized in 2011, was designed to provide increased opportunities for recreational activities throughout Rio Blanco County.
“Rio Blanco County embraces residents and visitors alike who enjoy outdoor and off-highway recreation adventures,” said RBC Commissioner Jeff Eskelson.
In order to expand recreational opportunities, including off-highway vehicle recreation, snowmobiling, hiking and mountain biking activities, the county initiated the Wagon Wheel Trail System.
The system currently consists of approximately 250 miles of trails easily accessed from the Town of Meeker, with the focus of the master plan to extend connectivity throughout Rio Blanco County and Northwest Colorado while expanding the trail system to federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, further incorporating the western side of Rio Blanco County.
“Creating a master plan will allow us to develop a trail system that offers adventure with varying levels of difficulty and points of interests,” Eskelson said.
On Jan. 8 and 9, the county will be hosting public meetings in Meeker and Rangely, respectively. The county invites the public, 4-wheel, OHV and motorized enthusiasts, businesses and recreation groups to attend these meetings and provide input for a future trail system network.
The Jan. 8 meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Center in Meeker; and the Jan. 9 meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Western Rio Blanco Recreation Center in Rangely.
The Wagon Wheel Master Plan will address several objectives:
• Collect information related to the existing routes and resources useful in trail planning in the county.
• Research examples of similar projects in the country in order to learn from their experience.
• Research potential economic benefits the Wagon Wheel Trail System may provide.
• Prepare a trails master plan, including guidelines and criteria for future trail development, to document a vision for a comprehensive trail network.
• Collaborate and comply with U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management guidelines.
• Collaborate with the towns of Meeker and Rangely and the chambers of commerce for input and outreach for trail system development and utilization.
• Consider long-term goals of increased trail opportunities for hiking and mountain biking activities.
“In 2012 and 2013, Meeker hosted the COHVCO White River OHV Rendezvous, which brought hundreds of riders to this area and gained additional exposure of the many recreational offerings we have,” Eskelson said. “These events introduced residents and visitors to the recreational possibilities here, and they have been growing in popularity.
“Creating the Wagon Wheel Master Plan will give us a great ‘playbook’ to grow these types of recreational opportunities and ensure responsible, sustainable growth in the future,” he said.