Frisco, U.S. Forest Service collects public input on developing town’s recreational crown jewel
Thirteen poster boards were affixed to the walls at the Frisco Adventure Park Day Lodge on Thursday evening. Their purpose? To have the dozens of locals in attendance scribble their feedback on an array of topics pertaining to the future of the town of Frisco’s Peninsula Recreation Area.
The boards ranged in topics from what kind of terrain locals would like to see to whether a potential international race course should be considered.
There was one board, however, tucked into one of the Day Lodge’s corners, that asked what the following sentence — the town of Frisco’s mission statement for the peninsula — meant to locals in attendance: “The PRA should serve as a hub for sustainable year-round recreation and trail-based sports.”
Some of the responses:
• “Improved summer mountain bike trails.”
• “Dedicated, groomed fat bike trails.”
• “A multi-surface for basketball, tennis and pickleball.”
• “Connectivity from the town without the need for cars.”
• “Only human-powered activities.”
It’s this mission statement — and locals responses to it — that is guiding the town in its current efforts to draft a new master development plan for the peninsula, which consists of 220 acres that belong to the town of Frisco, a sliver that belongs to Denver Water and more than 500 acres of U.S. Forest Service land.
And with Thursday evening’s winter recreation-focused event — and another planned June event to focus on summer recreation — the town is preaching that it wants any and all input from locals, on a myriad of topics. They want the feedback of those who use and will use the peninsula trails before the town submits their development plan to the U.S. Forest Service later this year.
The town’s assistant manager and director of recreation Diane McBride served as the host Thursday evening.
And after a half-hour of mingling, drinks and appetizers, McBride quieted the room to get down to business.
“We really want your feedback,” McBride said. “We want to know about the opportunities, and really we want some solutions. So if there are things you are just angry about, you have an opinion how you want to help us — let us know.”
“It’s a vision document,” Bill Jackson, the head of the Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District, said of the plans. “And it’s really cool that the town is reaching out to the public here to get input on that.”
Jackson added that he feels the town’s July timeline for development plan submission is pragmatic. He attributed that to the fact that he expects any changes to the recreation area will likely only require what’s known as a “categorical exclusion.”
“Those are activities that don’t have as big of an effect on the human environment,” Jackson said. “One such exclusion is construction materials. It’s a broad generalization of different products.
“If it’s (that) category,” Jackson added, “generally we can turn that around in less than a year. So I think her estimation of something by 2019, in terms of doing work on the ground, is doable.”
Those are the specifics on the town’s timeline, as Jackson said the peninsula will go through the same process as local ski areas.
But several people in attendance had questions regarding just how strong the input of locals would be weighed when drafting the plans. The town was adamant it would consider most everything jotted down on the 13 poster boards Thursday evening.
“It really is an open discussion,” McBride said.
The town is partnering with the SE Group and Morton Trails on the project. The SE Group relayed to the crowd that they expect a draft of the plans to be available to the public at the end of June, following the summer recreation-specific meeting.
Another attendee asked McBride whether the town’s plan, in general, is to shrink the trail system. The town and the SE Group relayed that’s not necessarily the case, and again pointed to how Thursday night’s feedback would steer the development.
And despite all that’s going on with the peninsula, the town also said that it is currently in the recruitment process of hiring a new full-time Nordic and trails manager.
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