Big Easy Trailhead Opening September 29!

Big Easy CeremonyJoin us for the opening ceremony of the new Peaks to Plains trailhead located at 32087 US Highway 6, Golden CO, 80403, or nine miles west from the intersection of 6th Avenue/Hwy 93/Hwy 58.

The ceremony will conclude with a ‘cable-cutting’ at 3:30 p.m., using the same cable seen on the new bridges in the canyon, and harkening back to the mining era. Visitors will then be able to enter The Big Easy and the Peaks to Plains Trail.

Food trucks and activities will be available until 6:00 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to carpool as parking will be limited. Parking at the Mayhem Gulch trailhead is suggested on this opening day, with access to the Big Easy trailhead via the newly connected Peaks to Plains Trail. The trail will open at Mayhem Gulch trailhead at 3:30 p.m.

The Peaks to Plains Trail, a key future state-wide connection, will gain another three quarters of a mile on Friday, September 29, 2017. This section adds more to the popular trail, which will eventually span the entirety of Clear Creek Canyon, all the way to Golden. In addition to the new trail, a developed recreation area and trailhead will open to the public in the part of the canyon known as ‘The Big Easy’.

The Big Easy trailhead and recreation area will have a restroom, 54 parking spaces, fishing platforms over the water, picnic pavilions, a geology garden, and a boardwalk in areas where vegetation needs to be protected. A new bridge also spans the creek, leading onto the Peaks to Plains Trail, which connects to the Mayhem Gulch trailhead westward up the canyon.

Taking Advantage of Warm Weather

Lots of action at the Big Easy helping us meet our goal of opening early fall…

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Dueling breaker bars slowly cut away bedrock to make room for the new highway alignment

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Slow going, but you can see the progress

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The future highway alignment can be seen in the distance

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Pouring the caisson cap for the new bridge

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The dry concrete in this photo is the top of the caisson, drilled over 40 feet deep!

GOCO Connect Initiative Grant to fund new trail segment connecting Downtown Golden at mouth of Clear Creek Canyon

On October 7, 2016 The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $2 million grant to Jefferson County to fund a new segment of the 65-mile vision for the Peaks to Plains (P2P) Trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. The grant was part of GOCO’s first round of funding for its new Connect Initiative, with $10 million in grants awarded to close critical gaps in trail networks across the state. GOCO’s Connect Initiative will invest $30 million over the next three years in closing trail gaps and creating safe access for all Coloradans to the outdoors. More than 80% of people in Colorado recreate on trails, and closing gaps and increasing connectivity has long been a top priority for the state’s residents.

 Jeffco Open Space’s proposal for the P2P Trail is one of six highly-demanded trail projects selected to move forward, with funding helping to construct more than 23 miles of trail and leveraging nearly $25 million in local matching dollars.

P2P GOCO Funded Mouth of Clear Creek Canyon Segment

What does this mean for Jeffco Open Space and the P2P Trail?
This grant will allow for the design and construction of an additional 1.75 miles of trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, including a bridge and two trailheads with safe parking lots accessible from US Highway 6 that will accommodate an estimated 50 parking spots each. Design of this new section will begin in 2017 and connect 24 miles of hard surface trail from the City of Golden to the western end of the stunning oxbow at Tunnel #1 on US 6.

Allowing direct access into Golden’s downtown, the area is already serving as a hub for multiple recreation uses and this grant will further the thoughtful conservation and enjoyment of yet another segment of the P2P trail!

Mandatory Creek Takeout

As part of construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail, there is a mandatory takeout at Cannonball Flats, milepost 261.23.  This will be in place for the entire 2016 season.  There are multiple signs in the creek to alert boaters as well as maps at the put-ins upstream.  The creek is open again below the Big Easy, milepost 262.27.  Please seethe notice below for full details.

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Bridge Fabrication

We recently took a trip to Greeley to check in on the fabrication of the first three of our four bridges, which will be installed mid March. They are made completely out of
Cor-Ten, also called weathering steel, which eliminates the need for painting as the product naturally forms a rust-like appearance when exposed to the elements. Each bridge will have overlooks on both sides to allow visitors to step off the trail and have an unobstructed view of the creek. They are too large to deliver in one piece. Instead they will be sent in four pieces (two bridge segments and two overlooks) connected on site and installed as one piece with the help of a large crane. Enjoy the pictures!

 

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Welding one of the sides of the westernmost bridge. This is the largest span at just under 136 feet.

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The center connection point. It will be disassembled here for shipping.

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The easternmost bridge. This is the shortest bridge at just under 107 feet. The small holes you see on the vertical members are for the cable safety railing.

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One half of the bridge. Its other half can be seen on the right.

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The middle of the three bridges with a span of just under 122 feet. This had just been sandblasted to remove debris and writing from the fabrication process. By the time this is installed in March it should have a rusty patina again.

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The two pieces of the middle bridge.

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One of the six overlooks. The holes for the cable safety railing can be seen here as well.

 

 

Peaks to Plains Trail on Colorado Public Radio

In case you missed it last week, the Peaks to Plains Trail received air time during Colorado Public Radio’s story on Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful Initiative.  Follow the link below to read or listen to the story.

http://www.kunc.org/post/money-trails-and-more-gov-wants-invest-colorado-beautiful#stream/0

KUNC Story

Bridge Abutments Are Almost Done

The crews have been hard at work of late and have made great progress on the bridge abutments for 3 of the 4 future bridges. The actual bridges will be installed in late winter of 2016, but these abutments really start to give you an idea of what the finished trail will look like.

Drill Rig

Step 1: Bring this huge track mounted drill up the canyon.

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Step 2: Drill 2 caisson holes down to bedrock. No easy task with all the large cobble found throughout the canyon.

Drilling Maygem Caissons

Step 2: Little by little.

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Step 3: Pour concrete footers on top of the caissons.

Cannonball West Footer

Step 3: The concrete must cure before the area is back filled.

Cannonball West Framing

Step 4: Once the footer is back filled, the framing for the abutments goes up.

Mayhem Pumping

Step 5: Bring a pump truck in and pour the abutments. Each abutment requires two concrete trucks.

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Step 6: Strip the forms off and wait.

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Now you can really get a feel for the final elevations. The bridge will sit in the notch and the final bridge deck height will be even with the top of the walls on the sides.

Trail Stewardship Team Onsite This Week

Each summer, since 1975, the Jeffco Open Space Trail Stewardship Team has employed Jefferson County youth to maintain and build trails while developing a land stewardship ethic. The program is open to all Jefferson County residents between the ages of 14 to 18. A competitive lottery every spring selects kids for these highly sought after positions. Read more about the Trail Stewardship Team.

This week a few members of the Team were onsite helping with construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail. They spent two days working in the westernmost segment of Jefferson County trail portion moving dirt, creating final grade around the railings and pulling noxious weeds. A big thanks goes out to them for all their hard work!

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Evan Yardley tamps down dirt around the newly installed railing

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Trail Stewardship Team members (left to right) Maggie Haddon, Carlee Shive, Andrew McInroy, Brett Lawrence, Olivia McCandle and Evan Yardley

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Olivia McCandle and Andrew McInroy hard at work

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Trail Stewardship Team at one of the trail’s overlooks (left to right) Andrew McInroy, Brett Lawrence, Evan Yardley, Maggie Haddon, Carlee Shive, Olivia McCandle and crew leader Sophie Scully