Saturday March 2, Red Flag Warning. No Open Burning in Boulder County

Boulder to Erie Regional Trail (BERT) FAQs

The Boulder to Erie Regional Trail project is a master planning process that is evaluating options for the creation of a new soft-surface, multi-use regional trail linking the City of Boulder and Town of Erie.

No, this is a trail master plan project led by Boulder County, which is exploring the implementation of a regional trail from Boulder to Erie. This potential trail may use some of the RTD rail Right of Way (ROW). Any conceptual trail alignments, or portions of alignments, that are located in the RTD Rail ROW will be planned as a “rail with trail” alignment. Any outcome of this project will not preclude RTD from establishing rail along the corridor in the future.

The purpose of this master plan is to identify conceptual alignments with a potential future trail, along with the amount of funding needed to design and construct it. How much of that work can be funded from the current sales tax that runs through 2024 depends on the amount needed for this trail and the funds available given the other regional trail needs in the county.

The result of the project will be conceptual alignments that reflect the outcomes of the planning process.

No, a trail is not already planned. This process is about evaluating options for the creation of a potential regional trail and understanding community members’ interests, concerns, and objectives around a trail. As a result of learning those things, a trail could be planned.

At this point, it is not anticipated that any proposed conceptual trail alignments would impact the use regulations for properties adjacent to a trail.

The Regional Trail Program is funded by the Countywide Transportation Sales Tax Ballot passed by voters in 2007. The intent of the Regional Trails Program is to fund a network of soft surface, off-street, multi-use trails in Boulder County. Given the current scope and funding for the Boulder to Erie Regional Trail project, the surface type initially being considered is a soft-surface trail composed of crusher fines.

Any conceptual trail alignments, or portions of alignments, that are located in the RTD Rail ROW will not preclude the possibility of implementing rail in the future.

Any conceptual trail alignments, or portions of alignments, that are located in the RTD Rail ROW will be planned as a “rail with trail” alignment. This means any outcome of this project will not preclude the ability for trains to run along the tracks of this corridor. At this time, we do not know of any plans by RTD to use the corridor for rail.

Engaging with community members, property owners, and potential trail users is key to this project. You can get involved in several ways — get on our notification list, send a comment or question on the website, email us a question or comment, or attend one of our public meetings. Whatever approach best suits you, please join us on this project: give input or get involved.

Much will depend on the outcomes of this master planning process, but it is anticipated that the next project will be the final design of the trail.

A primary goal of the project is to connect with both the Town of Erie and City of Boulder trail systems. These trail systems provide extensive connectivitiy to other regional trails.

The crossing of Hwy 287 is dependant on the preferred route chosen, but potential crossings could be an underpass within the RTD rail corridor, under the existing 287 bridge over Boulder Creek, and at the Isabelle signal.

The project team will use existing data, including management area designations from both Boulder County and the City of Boulder, as well as individual species habitat and occurrence data from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the County, and the City to gain a general understanding of the species with habitat or potentially occurring within the project area. The project team will further refine this data and work with project partners (including the City and County staff) to identify more and less environmentally sensitive areas within the corridor based on environmental resources, conservation priorities, and permitting requirements. High level site visits along the corridor will also inform this process. The project team will then use this information to develop evaluation criteria to assess the various conceptual alignments.

The project team is working with indigenous residents of Boulder County as well as tribal and nation leaders and representatives to understand the history and significance the project area may have for American Indian tribes and indigenous peoples.

Impacts to animal and plant species will vary depending on the trail alignment location. Common animal species found in the area include mule deer, fox squirrel, deer mouse, striped skunk, raccoons, black-billed magpie, and red-winged blackbird. Numerous native and non-native plant species occur in the area. Conceptual alignments within or near floodplains, wetlands, and streams could impact sensitive species including federal and state listed species, such as Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, black -tailed prairie dogs, Ute ladies’ tresses orchid, and several raptor species. The conceptual alignments along more developed upland areas would be less likely to impact sensitive animal and plant species. Impacts to all plant and animal species will be limited as much as possible through the master planning process.

User groups might include hikers, runners, equestrians, cyclists, cross country skiers, snowshoers, families with strollers, etc..

The current planning process will provide clarity on the funding, phasing, and regulatory requirements to build the trail. It is possible that the entire trail will be built as one project or that segments of the trail will be built and opened in phases. How the trail is implemented will largely be in response to the availability of funding, but other factors (such as securing easements or mitigating environmental impacts) may also affect the schedule. After this master planning project is complete, a future project will produce construction documentation. Permitting, environmental mitigation, and easements or other property related issues may be addressed concurrently with the construction documentation.

The master planning process will define and analyze multiple conceptual alignments based on criteria developed in partnership with the Steering Committee, Community Working Group, and Native American Community Leaders. Some of the alignments will not be located in senstive environmental areas. For any conceptual alignments that are in areas of concern, this planning process will identify design, engineering, and mitigation requirements to limit any environmental impact.

The County has convened a Steering Committee of County staff, City of Boulder (including OSMP), Town of Erie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and RTD. The County is also working with additional agencies as needed during the planning process, including the Mile High Flood District and Colorado Department of Transportation.

The project team is committed to working with and understanding the perspectives of adjacent landowners. To date, the team has met with some landowners adjacent to the RTD rail corridor and held neighborhood workshops for neighbors within a quarter mile of the center line of the rail corridor. If additional adjacent landowners wish to be part of the process, please email the project team to set up a time to talk.

Contact Us

Tonya Luebbert

Regional Trails Planner
720-564-2866
tluebbert@bouldercounty.gov

Courthouse Annex Building

2045 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80302

Hours

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday
Map and Directions

Mailing Address

Community Planning & Permitting
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306
Community Planning & Permitting website