County paves way for graveled Reservoir Ridge trailhead

Fort Collins will not be required to pave the parking lot of its new trailhead for the Reservoir Ridge Trail.

Larimer County commissioners approved the city’s appeal allowing it to instead surface the parking lot with recycled asphalt.

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The city agreed, however, to widen the entrance road to 36 feet to accommodate a possible future median. The city also agreed and to extend the paved portion of entrance off Overland Trail from 30 to 100 feet to limit gravel being kicked up onto the county road.

Although the county staff supported the appeal, the decision ultimately rested with the commissioners.

“We’re comfortable paving is not necessary to control dust emissions,” said Larimer County Environmental Health Planner Doug Ryan.

“We’ve never had complaints about dust emissions,” said John Stokes, director of the Fort Collins Natural Resources Department. In a supporting letter, city manager Darin Atteberry said the city does not require natural-area parking lots to be paved. Reservoir Ridge neighbors, he continued, also have consistently preferred a gravel lot over a paved one to better blend into the surroundings, slow traffic, and lessen effects on users and wildlife.

While supportive of the new trail, Bill Sullivan said his fear is that once built “there will be little concern for the residents.” He is a homeowner in the Poudre Overlook subdivision. Located across Overland Trail to the east, its entrance directly aligns with the trailhead’s.

“There’s a frustration by some people that they’ve been ignored, said Sullivan. “It’s been a slam dunk from the time they had the first informational meeting.” Also a member of subdivision homeowners association Sullivan said he does not speak on its behalf.

The 1.4-mile trail would cross the 158-acre property acquired by the city in 2004. It would offer another access to Reservoir Ridge in addition to the existing one on Michaud Lane. The trailhead will include an 11-space parking lot, a bus and horse-trailer parking area, vault toilet and picnic table. Construction is expected to begin this summer.