New trail planned for Long Lake

“We want to make Long Lake more accessible”

[  by Than Acuff  ]

Following over a year of collaboration, the Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) has plans to build approximately one mile of trail on their property at Long Lake this summer.

As the popularity of Long Lake has increased over the years, so too has damage to the shoreline and hillside along the southern end of the lake on the near shore as you approach the lake. The trail plan hopes to mitigate that damage.

“In order to come up with a good management plan we invited neighbors and stakeholders,” says CBLT executive director Jake Jones. “One purpose of the trail is to eliminate user created social trails that are causing erosion.”

In addition, the CBLT wants to provide a trail that can be used by a variety of trail users to get them along the lake shoreline and sought input from the Adaptive Sports Center to come with a trail design that would suit their needs as well.

“It’s not a mountain bike trail, it’s a hiking trail built wide enough for handcycles,” says Jones. “It will connect the lake shore to the ridge on the near side so people can get to the lake. We want to make Long Lake more accessible.”

The proposed trail will start at the top of the road accessed from across the Meridian Lake dam and then head south along the near ridge before dropping down to the lake shore and then returning to the ridge.

With a plan in place, the next step is to build the trail. The CBLT is raising the funds necessary for the project and will partner with the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) and their Crested Butte Conservation Corps to build the trail starting later this summer. The effort will include signage to address the increasing impacts on adjacent private lands and direct visitors to Long Lake accordingly.

“We want to help eliminate trespassing on neighboring private property with more signage to explain where people can and cannot go,” says Jones.

The trail is not meant to replace current access that is allowed by the Allen family up the steep hill from the trailhead, but it can offer a better experience upon reaching the lake.

“It’s an opportunity to spread out users and mitigate crowding at the typical swimming and beach area on the northern portion of Long Lake,” says Jones.

CBMBA and the CBLT will be flagging the route and continue to walk the proposed trail in the coming months and look to start building the trail later this summer.

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