Hayden planning for new 4-mile recreation trail with land donation from Peabody Energy | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden planning for new 4-mile recreation trail with land donation from Peabody Energy

Matt Stensland/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Plans are in place to have 200 acres of land gifted to the town of Hayden that will create a new four-mile trail for the community.

“It gives my town a nice little amenity,” Hayden Mayor Tim Redmond said. “People are excited, and we’re excited to take it over.”

The current owner of the land is Peabody Energy, which owns Twentymile Coal Co.

Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said the gifting of the land is associated with the mining company reclaiming the land it formally used.

The land is located just east of Hayden right before Shelton Lane on the south side of U.S. Highway 40.

The land was the former site of a rail spur that was used by Peabody Energy for mining operations.

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“Discussions are ongoing to determine the processes and approvals necessary to facilitate the land donation,” Peabody spokeswoman Charlene Murdock said.

As part of reclaiming the land, Peabody has removed the old railroad tracks, and the path will be used as a trail that is the width of a road.

Peabody is also in the process of building a parking lot with 36 spaces to create a trailhead.

“They are paying for the parking lot, but that was at our request and was not part of the reclamation,” Mendisco said. “So far, the only thing required of Peabody reclamation-wise has been to remove the rails.”

The town of Hayden will budget $10,000 for each of the next three years to develop the recreational amenity, and they plan on applying for grants to supplement the funding for future projects at the site.

“Everybody wins in the end,” Mendisco said.

Bathroom facilities are going to be installed and be ready for use next year.

Mendisco said the new trail will be open to a variety of users, including horseback riders and snowmobilers.

The trail will be groomed during the winter months beginning next season, which will allow for cross country skiing.

There are future plans to link the new trail with the existing trail at Dry Creek Park near downtown Hayden.

“What we’re hoping to do is make a connection, and we will literally have a complete east-west trail connection system,” Mendisco said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.