An Open Letter to Jefferson County Open Space

An Open Letter to Jefferson County Open Space

Dear Mr. Jefferson County Open Space and Jefferson County Commissioners:

My name Is Justin Hall. I live in the heritage neighborhood in Golden. I visit Apex park weekly assuming it’s dry and mostly on my mountain bike. I’m writing with growing concerns surrounding mountain biker access to Apex, and if I’m being honest, the discrimination towards this user group most notably at Apex. 

I applaud the community meeting at the Origin hotel to discuss new management at Apex, although I didn’t care for the condescending lecture one of the Rangers gave the room full of, well, almost exclusively Mountain bikers. I’ve personally put hours of my time into the JeffCo trails and it saddens me that I, and the user group I care so much about to be spoken to like this.

The plan presented by JCOS severely limits both Golden residents (Those that live near the West entrance) and those users that wish to connect Apex with other parks (namely Chimney Gulch). The top of Apex trail has a line clear sight lines. Restricting access to this trail pushes more traffic to other trails as well. I’d urge JCOS to reconsider upper Apex restrictions.
On the grounds of day-of-the-week restrictions.

This presents issues on a number of levels:

It’s confusing. Even odd is easier to remember. 

Inequity. I understand that “The majority of the population” are not cyclist. However, cyclist need a place to go. I’d urge JCOS to be progressive here and follow the steps of other outdoor/healthy forward communities and support their residents. It was alarming to hear the JCOS consults with the Bay Area. This is not an area I am envious of or believe is a role model for greater Denver.

I am very much a proponent of designated use. I would also urge JCOS to implement directional trails. Specifically Enchanted forest down through Apex trail (commonly referred to as the gut).

Lastly, and I expect this fall on dead ears, I’d urge JCOS to consider more trail. I’ve heard JCOS cite a survey and say the majority of JeffCo residents want them to “conserve a nature experience.” I took that survey as did many of my cyclist friends and family. Many of us voted to “yes” to preserving as riding our bikes is a nature experience. 

I see this as an opportunity for JCOS to be a leader in land management for cyclist. We may have some similar stats to places like the Bay Area but in others we are very different. The mountain bike community in Denver and specifically in JeffCo is many times larger. Greater Denver is one of the largest Mountain Bike markets in the country and I would urge JSCOS to support its residents the best they can.

– Justin