Dillon to groom multiuse trails on frozen reservoir
The water at the Dillon Marina hasn’t quite frozen over yet, but community members soon will have a new way to enjoy the reservoir by skiing out onto the ice on expertly groomed trails.
Dillon officials presented plans for new multiuse groomed trails on the Dillon Reservoir during the regular work session discussion Tuesday afternoon, a move meant to provide more safe outdoor recreation opportunities in town.
“We’re looking at this as a way for visitors and locals to come out and get some healthy exercise,” said Dillon Events Manager Matt Lope, who spearheaded the effort. “It’s good for the mental side of it, too, to get out of the house. Everyone is cooped up and looking for something to do. … This is kind of Dillon’s answer.”
The track will be built about 20 feet onto the lake, directly on the ice, and will be marked with bamboo poles every 80 yards or so. The route will loop individuals around the reservoir running parallel to the shoreline from Dillon Marina to the Dillon Nature Preserve, down to Roberts Tunnel and all the way across the lake, back to Lodgepole Street. There also will be a shorter loop available for individuals who don’t want to make the entire trip.
Visitors will be able to enter the track from three locations: Lodgepole Street, the marina and the eagle statue along U.S. Highway 6.
Lope said the trails will be open for cross-country skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, hiking and more. Visitors also will be able to bring their pets, and the town will be supplying waste bags along the trail so that dog owners can clean up after them. Extra restrooms will be placed nearby the trail, as well.
Officials emphasized that the trail will not impact people looking to use the reservoir in other ways.
“We also want to keep this friendly with all the other recreational users out there: the ice fishers, snowkiters, ice sailors. We’re thinking about them, too,” Lope said.
No opening date for the new trail has been set, with town officials at the mercy of Mother Nature to build ice depth above the water. Lope said the track won’t open until each point along the route is at least 7 inches thick and deemed safe for use. Similarly, officials will close the track once the ice begins to thin in the spring.
The weekly ice measurements should provide a safer environment for all reservoir users.
“I see people cross-country skiing already,” council member Steven Milroy said. “So having a trail, and that peace of mind that the town is checking the ice thickness, will give a lot of people comfort that when the town says it’s not safe, then it’s not safe. …For tourists who maybe are unfamiliar with recreating on ice, I think it helps bridge that gap in terms of making it a little more friendly.”
Some community members already have come out in support of the idea.
“The approval of the multiuse track on Dillon Reservoir is amazing news,” said Barb Richard, a resident who chimed in on the virtual meeting. “This has been a goal of the Dillon Parks Advisory Committee for the last 10 years. … It is welcome news for this winter.”
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