After more than three years of gathering input and working with consultants, the Mountain Village Town Council adopted the Mountain Village Trails Master Plan at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
The plan is a guiding document for the town’s open space and trails system with recommendations for trail upgrades, new trails, policy recommendations and increased connectivity options between different corridors within Mountain Village, as well as with the regional trails system.
The Trails Master Plan was crafted by Alta Planning + Design, of Portland, Ore. Alta consultants gathered significant public feedback during the summer and fall of 2018 through several public outreach events and extensive stakeholder interviews.
A first draft was presented to council in July of 2019, and sent back to the consultants with several changes requested. The revised plan was slated to be considered by council in March of 2020, but put on hold due to the pandemic. The revised draft was presented to Town Council at its July 2021 meeting, and officially adopted a month later.
“It’s been a long time in the works, and we’re happy that Town Council has formally adopted it,” said Mountain Village’s Transit and Recreation Director Jim Loebe. “ Mountain Village is currently lacking in its connectivity between different pods of the town (Town Hall, Meadows, Village Center with main arteries like San Joaquin, Benchmark and Adams Ranch) for non-motorized active transportation, and this plan addresses the need for safe active transportation opportunities between our corridors and gives residents more diverse options for recreational pursuits.”
The plan’s outlined goals include the following:
- Ensuring that trail users feel safe when on Mountain Village trails; providing a variety of year-round trail experiences that serves users of all ages and abilities.
- Developing a trails system and supporting infrastructure that promotes effortless navigation of the trail system.
- Developing a sustainable trail system that respects and benefits Mountain Village’s unique alpine environment.
- Collaborating with neighboring partners and jurisdictions to realize shared interests regarding trails.
The newly adopted plan will also prove beneficial when the town works with potential developers in negotiating public benefits and the plan will help guide the town and developers in trail access adjacent to contemplated projects.
“The Trails Master Plan is an important tool for Town Council – current and future - as we determine which trails are most needed by the community and how we fund their creation,” said Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez.
Despite the delays to the formal adoption of the Trails Master Plan, the town has used its recommendations to develop plans to widen San Joaquin Road to provide for safer biking and walking paths and is working with the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation to engineer and construct a tunnel under Highway 145 to connect the Meadows Trails safely to Lawson Hill. Both projects are underway and in the engineering process.
The town has been able to leverage grant funding opportunities for both projects, and as Benitez pointed out when council adopted the plan, having a formal plan will further help the town secure funding opportunities for future projects.
“Each year, Recreation staff will use the plan to identify our next projects and start exploring funding partnership opportunities (grants from the state or collaborations with other entities) and present projects to council for approval during the annual budgeting cycle for projects slated for the following fiscal year,” Loebe said.
To view the final plan, please visit our Trails Master Plan webpage.