Connecting Crested Butte to Skyland
County crews constructing a pedestrian trail that will eventually link the town of Crested Butte to the Skyland subdivision have taken a break for the season, leaving the installation of a bridge over the Slate River for the spring.
“I thought we were really lucky to have gotten as far as
we did,” says director of public works Marlene Crosby.
“We’ve actually built the base structure from the entrance
into the Riverbend subdivision almost to the river. They’re
cleaning up rocks and things and then we’ll come back in
the spring and put some surfacing material on it.”
The bridge will link the existing Skyland trail
system on the south side of the Slate River to a trail
that will travel through Riverbend Homeowners
Association open space to Riverbend Road, according
to the project plan developed by the Gunnison
County Trails Commission. It will alleviate the need
for bikers and hikers to travel on Highway 135.
Some of the material that will be used to construct
the bridge will be recycled from a project by
the Colorado Department of Transportation that required
a bridge in a traffic detour, Crosby says.
The funding for the nearly $80,000 bridge and
trail has come from grants through the Gunnison
County Land Preservation Board, which contributed
$30,000 to the project, and $10,000 from the Metropolitan
Recreation District, as well as donations
and county contributions.
The county chose not to surface the completed
portion of the trail this year because they will have
to access the area with heavy equipment to put
the bridge in place in the spring, which would just
drive the surface stone into the soil.
“Then our hope next year, and we’ll obviously
have to wait until the Slate River goes down, is to
set the bridge and then we’ll get it to the other side
and Skyland is going to pick it up from there,” says
The Skyland Community Association has agreed to build and pave
the trail to the south side of the bridge and the Riverbend
Homeowner’s Association is granting an easement for the connection to
Brush Creek Road.
That easement is 2,380 feet long and 10 feet wide.
After construction of the bridge is
complete, the Trails Commission will be charged
with its maintenance and the Crested Butte Mountain
Bike Association has agreed to keep the trail in
Because the Skyland portion of the trail is
paved and will likely be plowed throughout the
winter, Crosby says, there are ongoing discussions
between different groups that could potentially use
the trail about how the trail will be cared for in the
“On one side of the river it’s going to be road
base and on the other side it will be paved. And
you know Skyland plows their trails, so that they
have pedestrian access in the winter. Then you have
Nordic uses on the other side. So should the trail be
groomed or the trail be plowed? Who knows?” says
Crosby. “So right now we’re just trying to keep the options open for the future.