A new initiative aims to elevate the mountain biking future of one of Colorado's most scenic alpine bases.
Encompassing a mountainside overlooking Silverton, the 30-mile trail system envisioned for Bakers Park "will enhance the recreational offerings and access to public lands in the area for residents and visitors alike," read a recent Bureau of Land Management news release.
Leaders and cycling advocates in the small, remote town in the state's southwest region officially proposed the broad network last year. Lisa Branner, Silverton's community relations manager, said the idea came as the town took a hard look at its trails plan from 2004.
"There was no mention of mountain biking. (As if) mountain biking is not a thing," Branner said. "We were like, 'Uh, it's kind of a thing.'"
Silverton seeks the economic fortunes the sport has spelled for communities elsewhere. While riders in the know have swept advanced terrain in the area, Bakers Park will appeal to all skill levels, Branner said.
It will be open to electric-powered bikes, too.
Bakers Park joins a lengthening list of BLM projects to approve e-bikes since 2019's secretarial order acknowledging the rides as beneficial to older and physically limited enthusiasts.
Class 1 e-bikes, with pedal-assisted motors ceasing at 20 mph, "will generate new economic opportunities for the local gateway community while avoiding negative resource and social impacts associated with Class 2 and 3 e-bikes," reads the BLM decision on Bakers Park.
Not everyone was happy about that, Branner said. "But the reality is, this is going to be part of the future of biking."
Nonprofit Silverton Singletrack Society is steering fundraising and trail building, which Branner said could begin as early as spring. She said the goal is to finish 10 miles by the end of next summer.