Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Trail upgrades close to completion


March 23, 2018

Upgrades to local trails are a few steps closer to being ready for the upcoming warmer weather.

Brent Wheeler, with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, said that the key component of the whole project is the Left Hand Valley Grange trailhead, which has been redesigned and rebuilt. The original parking lot was built to accommodate a small picnic area and playground, as well as the ball field, which is leased by Niwot Youth Sports.

“This is to provide more capacity for parking for both Niwot Youth Sports and our trail visitors,” Wheeler said. “So we are enlarging the lot to almost twice the capacity that it was. We made it a lot more functional as far as travel through there, and there is designated parking as opposed to a big square lot.”

There have also been improvements to landscaping, including the planting of trees, with more to come.

Wheeler said there will be a kiosk at the site with maps and information about the parks, along with new restrooms with flush toilets.

There are also two different trails that are seeing some work.

One goes from the west side of Niwot High School towards Overbrook and then back out to Niwot Road.

“That’s a new section of trail that was put in last summer by the Boulder County Youth Corps program,” Wheeler said.

The other is a new eight foot wide trail that is being constructed now, a new section of the LoBo Trail that will bypass the trailhead at the Left Hand Valley Grange. Where the current LoBo Trail went along 83rd Street, then west on Niwot Road, the new section is more direct.

“That will go more along Dry Creek and be a little more of a direct, easier way-finding route,” Wheeler said. “It will also have some access points into the trailhead.”

There are also two street crossing improvements. Crews are tearing out sidewalks and adding ADA accessible ramps and domes, along with new signage at those intersections and throughout the trail system.

The project is a collaboration between several organizations. There are grants from the state of Colorado combined with Boulder County Parks & Open space, the Boulder County regional trails program (under the transportation department) and the Niwot Community Association, and,Niwot Youth Sports, which made its water tap available for the restrooms involved.

“It’s a good partnership program,” Wheeler said. “We’re using some state funds, some transportation funds and some parks & open space funds to make this happen.”

The cost of the project is $323,000, with another estimated $123,000 in labor-in-kind from staff, $110,000 of this comes from state funds. The project will put the total miles of trails in the Niwot area up to six, not including the 12 miles of the LoBo Trail. They plan to have everything done by June if not sooner, but some of the new areas will likely be done by the end of this month.

“Niwot is a unique area,” Wheeler said. “It’s a combination of soft-surface grade-separated trails, also neighborhood association trails that are open to the public and sidewalks. So there are multiple loops that can be made throughout the Niwot area. The trails we’re working on now will be tying all of those in and wrapping up the master plan we have for Niwot at this point.”

Parks & Open Space will also be working with the Niwot community to do a volunteer project to help with landscaping at the Trailhead. No date has been set yet, but Wheeler estimated late April or early May. Anyone interested can call 303-678-6200 for specifics.

Plaque to be replaced

In Left Hand Valley Grange Park, the commemorative plaque for a tree cloned from the large 100-year-old cottonwood tree near Hygiene has been missing since some time last year.

When looking around the park, it was first noticed that the post was gone, then they realized the plaque was missing as well. These will be replaced some time soon.

“The [Hygiene] tree unfortunately met its demise a few years ago,” Wheeler said. “Our department tried to salvage as much of the wood as possible. There were some tables made, some art work and some grafts were made so it could be replanted. One of the saplings is there in the park.”


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