LTE: The Trails Initiative

From Paul Parsons
The Trails Initiative is an unfunded group of citizen volunteers that came into being just over a year ago at the invitation of the Custer County Economic Development Corporation. This group seeks to represent the interests and hopes of all trail users (those who ride ATVs, horses, motorbikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, snowmobiles, and those who go on foot). Their purposes are to inventory all usable trails in Custer County; to take part in helping maintain those trails wherever appropriate; to create an up-to-date plan for trails in the county; to develop any new trails that are needed; and to promote these trails both to people within and also to people from outside our area.
The Trails Initiative has come a long way through the past year, getting its bearings and developing potential plans. And it is about to take a major step forward in January 2018, with the help of those who live in Custer County. On January 18th, the Trails Initiative team will hold an event open to all local residents, in which they will share their thoughts and potential plans, asking for the community’s feedback, additions, corrections, and support. With this input, the Trails Initiative will incorporate any changes and come back to the community with a second event in late winter to finalize the trails plan.
“The Trails Initiative receives no budget funds from the county, the towns, or really any source,” says Paul Parsons, chairperson of the Trails Initiative. “So the planning document we’re working on will become an essential feature for seeking any grants from various foundations and agencies that would support carrying out any community-supported trails projects that will require funds.”
For a state known for its breathtaking landscapes, many people who have lived in Colorado all their lives have never heard of nor laid eyes on the heart of Custer County. This fact isn’t lost on Paul Parsons. “The stunning ridgeline of the sharply vertical Sangre de Cristo Mountains demands full attention, especially at sunrise when the alpenglow registers the ‘blood of Christ’. And laced quietly in both those great mountains and the beloved Sierra Mojado are 223 trails, covering 289.9 miles within the County. The Trails Initiative seeks to be wise stewards of these incredible resources.”
The Trails Initiative, friends of Custer County trails, is open to participation by anyone; they meet on the second Tuesday of each month, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the library Community Room. And they invite you to come join them for a special evening of discovery, encouragement, and input on Thursday evening, January 18th, at All Aboard Westcliffe, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. If you have questions, please contact Paul Parsons at