The Kokopelli Bike Club has proposed a 13.6-mile trail expansion at Phil’s World, which has irked some neighbors.
The proposal includes two new trailheads complete with parking spaces: one on County Road L and the other on County Road M. Bill Eggers, who owns a 75-acre tract that would border a proposed 4.5-mile bike path between Road L and Road 31, said the new trail system would adversely impact him and other neighbors.
“A survey was done of some of the impacted residents, and no one wants to see this approved,” Eggers told The Cortez Journal this week.
Eggers fears increased road traffic and said wildlife would be harmed. He said the proposed bike trails would be laid over existing wildlife trails, disturbing wintering grounds for mule deer.
“I used to count up to 200 head of mule deer,” he explained. “Today, I’m lucky to see 30. I want to protect them, and keep them around.”
Kokopelli Bike Club President Jeff Fox said advocates of the proposed trail expansion were also concerned about the impact on wildlife. He said some of the initial bike paths have been rerouted from canyons to mesa rims to ease concerns.
“We are definitely concerned about wildlife, and we want to do this right,” said Fox.
About 30 private tracts – ranging from 5 to 149 acres – would border the expanded trail system. Lawrence Suckla, who owns an adjoining 51 acres, said his initial concerns regarding possible fences that might hamper cattle grazing have since been addressed, according to his son, Montezuma County Commissioner Larry Don Suckla.
“The county always supports continued economic growth,” the commissioner said. “Personally, I’m also in favor of the project.”
Located on 2,400 acres of BLM property and 730 acres of leased state land, Phil’s World is a popular 27-mile singletrack mountain biking park 6 miles east of Cortez. It features roller-coaster trails with fast descents, casual climbs and air-catching whoop-de-doos.
Expanding recreational opportunities at Phil’s World could help to market Cortez as a destination spot and boost tourism, Fox said. He believes it would also elevate user experience since there would be a broader expanse of trails to ride.
The proposed trail system includes the 4.6-mile Junky Trail, 4.5-mile Cash Canyon Trail, 2-mile Cash Mesa Trail and 2.5-mile Tiny Donkey Trail.
“The expansion project would roll out in stages,” said Fox.
If approved, the Junky Trail could be constructed this spring, followed by the Tiny Donkey Trail in the fall. The other two trails would be built in 2016.
Preparing an environmental assessment, the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office is accepting public comments on the Kokopelli Bike Club proposal to develop new nonmotorized trails at Phil’s World. Public comments must be submitted by Jan. 30.
For more, contact Supervisory Outdoor Recreation Planner Jeff Christenson at (970) 882-6811 or [email protected]