Forest Service document outlining needs and conditions.

Berthoud Pass Briefing Paper

February 23, 2005


Berthoud Pass area is rich in history and was one of the first ski areas in Colorado. The area has traditionally been operated as a commercial ski area under special use permit with the Forest Service; however this activity has proven to not be economical in recent years.  The latest permittee, SolVista Inc., will be removing all remaining structures related to the defunct ski operations within in the next eight months, as required by their permit.

Current Uses:

Berthoud Pass is a popular recreation area in all season and is heavily used as a scenic wayside to U.S. Highway 40.  The most popular activities accessed by the site include: hiking, backcountry skiing/snow boarding, and snowshoeing,

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST):

The 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan identified Berthoud Pass as an important trailhead location for access to the CDNST through Colorado. The CDNST crosses Highway 40 in the vicinity of Berthoud Pass, offering one of the few paved access points available to the public.  It is expected that Berthoud Pass will be the most visited CDNST trailhead in the United States.

Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) grant:

Colorado State Parks, in partnership with the Forest Service and Continental Divide Trail Alliance was awarded GOCO funding to construct a major CDNST trailhead at Berthoud Pass and reconstruct two miles of trail. The amount allocated for this project was $816,000 and construction is scheduled to be completed in 2006-2007.

Proposed Site Improvements:

The Forest Service is proposing site improvements at Berthoud Pass to provide the following: orientation, interpretation and recreation opportunities; a CDNST trailhead interpretive plaza and continental divide monument; improvements to parking for pedestrian safety; locations where universal trail design can be highlighted; scenic vista overlooks; and restrooms or other potential facilities.

Planning/Design Process for this Project:

The official public comment for the proposed site improvements will continue through March 11, 2005.  A Forest Service interdisciplinary team (IDT) will analyze environmental effects, propose mitigations, develop alternatives to the proposal, and document the decision of the responsible official.  An Interpretive Plan is concurrently being developed for the site.  The design team will utilize the decisions from the responsible official and recommendations from the Interpretation Plan to develop final site design.


Future Planning Effort:

The Forest Service will also be amending the AR Forest Plan this year to provide guidance for future management of the area.  Additional recreation opportunities and/or facilities may be developed in the future, including but not limited to managed snow play (sledding and tubing).

Foreset Service Brief

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