By Kim Arline
The Pueblo River Trail is an overlooked gem in our community. How many communities have a continuous, hard-surface trail system linking a university, a downtown area, several fishing areas, a skate park, a kayak park, a State Park with amazing mountain biking trails and another community all together by 19 miles of trail and only a couple of road crossings? Additional trails branch off of the main river trail totaling over 30 miles of hard-surface trails here in Pueblo that many people don’t even know about. Over 30 miles of single-track mountain biking trails are also accessible from the river trail system.
Many Pueblo residents know about parts of the trail but few know how to reach the trail, where the trail will take them or how nice the trail system really is. Fewer have ever traveled the length of it. But that may soon change.
Signage improvements along the trail at 37 locations including access points or junctions will have a full color map posted with a “You are Here” arrow showing the current location for the traveler. The map will show the mileage along each trail, starting at Runyon Lake, and will also show when a trail branches off of the river trail to another area of the city. Mile markers will also be stenciled on the concrete, identifying the trail with two letters, as well as the mileage.
The mile markers are designed to improve safety, maintenance and law enforcement for quickly identifying a location if help is needed in any way. The mile markers will also encourage community members to track their distance and maybe push a little farther each time they venture onto the trail, becoming fitter and healthier with each step.
Pueblo Active Community Environments (P.A.C.E.) proposed this project two years ago to improve awareness and safety along the trail and encourage more walking and biking along a phenomenal asset in our community. The City of Pueblo geographic information system(GIS) expert, Debi Romines, developed the map with assistance from City Parks and Recreation, the State Park, community members and planners. Community volunteers stenciled the mile markers and a corps of volunteers traveling to Pueblo will install the signs in early June. Funding for the signs, posts, hardware, stencils and paint was provided by the Colorado Lottery.
Soon Pueblo will know what a tremendous trail system we have that other communities can only dream of. With that, Puebloans will need to learn and use the accpeted trail courtesy of staying right and allowing other trail users to pass on your left. And, soon Pueblo will be an active community where young and old alike can walk or ride for fun, fitness or transportation along a scenic river trail.