What happened on Maxwell is really an assault on the community at large, and more specifically on the mountain bikers that call Fort Collins home. Fort Collins is a mountain bike town, supporting eleven bike shops not to mention a multitude of mountain bike clubs, teams, and bike related businesses (i.e. Fat Tire, a symbol that has become iconic to Fort Collins) . I would also like to remind us that Fort Collins is one of five platinum level Bicycle Friendly Communities in the country and of those five, we are the only city to have an extensive system of mountain bike trails within riding distance of town. Maxwell was a well loved, critical link, and it has now been forever altered. Coupling Maxwell and Shoreline trails offered riders the perfect loop from town, especially for folks trying to stay fit and healthy while also managing everyday life. It was fun and technical and challenging and relatively well maintained; a resource that will be sorely missed.
I am still not entirely clear of the primary reason for such a drastic redesign of a well loved local trail, but I will offer a brief rebuttal for two possible positions:
Over-use/Trail user conflict: The new design will only encourage more cyclists and hikers to use the trail. I also predict that the new design will result in faster descending speeds for cyclists that may or may not have the skill set to properly navigate the fast, loose corners. This is particularly concerning as more parents take to Maxwell with their young children, cyclists and hikers alike. With the current design I predict significantly more trail users and exponentially more trail user conflict/risk exposure.
Erosion: Having worked for a variety of trail organizations over the years, the trail conditions on Maxwell did not appear to be egregious from a soil conservation perspective. The complete redesign/reroute of Maxwell, from my perspective, seems excessive given my understanding of the issues.
Ultimately, this feels like a decision that was made for the people of Fort Collins without proper representation of the opinions and perspectives of the community.
I look forward to meeting with Ryan Kobut with Natural Resources in order to learn more details!