For years, the City of Salida and Salida Mountain Trails have sought legal access from the F St bridge parking lot to the Arkansas Hills Trail system. Everyone who begins their trail experience from the F St parking lot technically trespasses. To date, this has not been a huge issue, but could be at any time based on the whim of the Union Pacific Railroad (UP).
A significant issue is that we cannot legally post maps or trail signage at or near the F St. Bridge due to that trespassing issue. This is huge for visitors and first time users, as they are often at a loss of where to go to get the start of several of our trails.
Recent good news of a developing solution – City Administrator Dara MacDonald has negotiated a solution, and the Salida City Council has approved an agreement with UP for a bike and pedestrian crossing. Salida will pay the UP a total of $35,000 at $3,500 per year for 10 years for the access. The city council vote was unanimous, which in itself was an accomplishment! Several SMT board members were present to speak in support.
Next step is final approval and implementation by UP and the City of Salida, which will take another few months. Upon implementation, SMT will create and install first class maps, trail signage, and a kiosk. A possible upshot for locals – you will probably no longer have to explain over and over again to first time users how to get to the trail system. Stay tuned…