June 20, 2019

Loss of historic Royal Hotel brings people of Yampa together

— Residents of the small South Routt Town of Yampa have signed on to take the first steps toward reinvigorating the town in the wake of the January fire that claimed an historical landmark and gathering place, the Royal Hotel.

More than 60 people packed into the Yampa Ladies Aid Hall Thursday night to listen to local economic development experts Jane Blackstone, Tracy Barnett, Carl Steidtmann and Noreen Moore, who urged the group to set small, affordable goals to gradually begin to breathe some new life into a historic Western town.

“It was inspiring to me to see that kind of community turnout and caring,” Blackstone, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association economic development director, said Friday. “They have very authentic Western heritage and a real experience for people visiting this part of the world. They have a lot to build on.”

She added that at the end of the meeting, a significant number of those in attendance signed their names to three projects lists.

They’ll rally to create a new mural on the side of a building, plant their own flower barrels and tackle a list of fix-up projects. That includes refurbishing the picket fences with entry arches that are a recognizable design element in front of homes around town.

Yampa had a population of 429 in 2013, down from 443 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We talked about their strengths and things they could do,” Barnett, director of Mainstreet Steamboat, said. “I spoke about how you can start with baby steps — a Saturday afternoon painting party. You can get wooden pallets and make planter boxes with very little money, that will show there is a community and start building on that. It activates the streets and shows there is community pride. Once things get fixed up, then somebody else starts to care.”

Accomplishing small improvements becomes tangible evidence of positive change, Blackstone said.

When the 109-year-old Royal Hotel burned down in Yampa Jan. 5, the town lost a community-gathering place as well as a source of property and sales tax revenues in a municipality that has budgeted to raise about $110,000 this year from those two sources combined.

County Commissioner Tim Corrigan, who lives outside Yampa, said this week that he is actively encouraging the town to find a way to clean up the charred beams and rubble of the hotel, which still mar the downtown commercial district.

One of the remaining flagship businesses in the town is Montgomery’s General Merchandise, which harkens back to another era with its diverse merchandise and its reliance on an old-fashioned manual cash register.

Barnett said people who attended the meeting lamented the disappearance of a sign advertising Montgomery’s from Colorado Highway 131 (which runs right by Yampa without affording a view of the little historic downtown) because it was found to have been improperly placed on county property.

Not far from Montgomery’s, the historic Crossans’ Market building is being restored with grants from the State Historical Fund. The main floor, with 60-year-old retail fixtures and advertising signs in place, will serve as a historical display, while the upstairs will serve as town offices.

There is also enthusiasm among a community of artists living in Yampa for establishing a gallery in an empty building not far from the beginning of Routt County Road 7. The road leaves directly from Yampa’s commercial district and winds up the Bear River to all of the hiking, fishing, camping and hunting in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Blackstone said that during a recent presentation to the South Routt Economic Development Council in Phippsburg, she urged that board’s members to work to define the narratives they can tell about their region. Those stories are needed to help prospective visitors understand the memorable experiences they could have in South Routt.

Refining the stories embedded in Yampa’s history could also become one of the next steps in the little town’s revival, she said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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Loss of historic Royal Hotel brings people of Yampa together

Cycling; Mountain bikers gaining support

State officials want to keep mountain bikers off the singletrack trails in the Ware River Watershed.

New England Mountain Bike Association members have been talking with state officials in an effort to gain access for mountain bikers on the restricted trails in the watershed, which stretches through Rutland, Oakham, Barre and Hubbardston.

Officials are also concerned about unauthorized trails that have been created in the 23,000-acre watershed, and they plan to dismantle the trails and enforce the ban on mountain bikes, NEMBA said.

“For the last 30 years, residents have been mountain biking on this trail network without realizing this activity has always been banned. Bicycling is only allowed on roads and rail trails. Hikers, on the other hand, are permitted to walk anywhere they choose throughout the Ware River Watershed regardless of the presence of a trail,” NEMBA said in a news release.

Members of the Wachusett Chapter of NEMBA have been leading the effort.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation website on the Ware River Watershed says the following: “The primary purpose of DCR water and surrounding lands is drinking water supply. Public access, therefore, is carefully regulated and controlled to protect over 2 million people’s source of drinking water.”

According to NEMBA, there are at least 20 miles of singletrack trails in the watershed. Only three of the trails are recognized by the Division of Water Supply Protection in the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, NEMBA said, and the three trails are the Midstate Trail and two trails dedicated to horseback riding.

State officials have expressed concerns over the presence of mountain bikers on these trails as well as the creation of additional unauthorized trails, NEMBA said.

The mountain bike group offered to provide solutions to curb unauthorized trail building and riding by working with the state agency to create a legitimate and sustainable trail system for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and cross-country skiing. However, the offer was declined.

NEMBA said that state officials plan to wipe out the trails and enforce the ban on mountain bikes.

“NEMBA feels that the best course of action here would be to recognize bicycles as a valid trail user and work with, rather than against, those aligned with the agency’s mission of maintaining the highest possible water quality,” NEMBA said.

The bicycling group contends that mountain biking and hiking have similar environmental impacts and should be managed together. According to NEMBA, there are many studies that say hiking and biking have similar impacts yet there are no studies indicating hiking has no impact or that hiking and mountain biking impacts are dramatically different.

“The recreational analysis done by DCR in the Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Middlesex Fells Reservation states that ‘with respect to these two recreational impacts, these two recreational uses have similar impacts and should be evaluated similarly,’ ” NEMBA said.

According to NEMBA, providing access for mountain bikers on singletrack trails would be beneficial to area residents looking for recreational opportunities.

“The current policy unjustly excludes mountain biking on trails as a legitimate activity in the watershed, and the lack of authorized trails for hiking and mountain biking have created a recreational vacuum that is currently being fulfilled by creating unauthorized trails. We feel strongly that by working with NEMBA and our dedicated volunteer base, DWSP can actually improve Ware Watershed water quality further by fixing or closing current unsustainable trails and providing new trails that are properly designed and built away from sensitive areas,” NEMBA said.

According to NEMBA, the group met with state Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, on Thursday, and she offered her full support for NEMBA’s effort to gain access for mountain bikers in the watershed.

Cross the line

The best cyclo-cross racers in the country will line up at Roger Williams Park in Providence on Sunday afternoon.

The KMC Cyclo-cross Festival wraps up the New England Holy Week of Cyclo-cross, which includes six races over 12 days.

Cyclo-cross stars scheduled to compete today include national champion Jeremy Powers, six-time national champion Tim Johnson, four-time national champ Jonathan Page, national champ Katie Compton, Ted King, Shawn Milne and many more. In addition to the United States, there will be top riders from Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

“I think it’s a foundation piece in North American ‘cross. I’ve seen it grow into such a great event, and for more than just the racers,” said Johnson, a member of Cannondale CyclocrossWorld.com team.

With more than 10,000 spectators and racers expected, the event is considered the biggest cyclo-cross event on the East Coast. The event — formerly known as the Providence Cyclo-Cross Festival — was first held in 2009, is internationally sanctioned by UCI and is on target to be the first American venue to host the World Cup in 2015.

Cyclo-cross is a 30- to 60-minute race on a bicycle similar to a road bike, but the tires are a little wider and have more tread for traction on the often-muddy terrain. The course usually has grass, gravel and asphalt sections, and includes barriers such as hurdles and steps that sometimes force a rider to dismount and carry the bike over the obstacles.

The racecourse at Roger Williams Park has quick elevation changes, with many sharp turns and switchbacks on short, steep hills — as well as a flyover, some hurdles and a fast finish on pavement.

“It’s a beautiful course,” Johnson said Friday. “It’s fast, it’s challenging. Riders feel like they’re getting something they can’t get anywhere else.”

The bowl-like landscape at Roger Williams Park, which hosted the Cyclo-Cross National Championships in 2005 and 2006, not only offers a great course layout, but also spectacular sight lines for watching the races.

The amateur racing begins at 8 a.m., the elite women race for 40 minutes beginning at 3:45 p.m., and the elite men race for 60 minutes starting at 5.

To get to Roger Williams Park in Providence, take Interstate 95 south to Rhode Island exit 17. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Route 1/Elmwood Avenue. Proceed on Elmwood for ⅓ mile, then turn left into the park’s second entrance. Follow Cross Fest and “Temple to Music” signs in the park.

Today — Major Taylor Century, with ride options of 25, 62 and 100 miles, presented by Seven Hills Wheelmen and 10th Gear/Venture Crew 1010. Starts at River Bend Farm (Visitors Center for Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park), 287 Oak St., Uxbridge. Information: (508) 831-0301, www.sevenhillswheelmen.org

Today — Kona Bicycles Mountain Bike Adventure Series, Bear Brook State Park, Allenstown, New Hampshire. Presented by New England Mountain Bike Association. Information: www.nemba.org

9:30 a.m. Saturday — Seven Hills Wheelmen 45- or 65-mile road ride. Meet on School Street, Montague. The long route has a lunch stop in Shelburne Falls. Information: (508) 831-0301, www.sevenhillswheelmen.org

Saturday — Mansfield Hollow Cyclo-cross race, Mansfield Hollow State Park, Mansfield, Connecticut. Presented by Thread City Cyclers. Information: www.bikereg.com

Oct. 12 — Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross race, the Fairgrounds at Lancaster. Amateur races start at 8:30 a.m.; elite women at 11:30 and elite men at 1:15 p.m. Information: www.minutemanroadclub.com

10 a.m. Oct. 12 — Seven Hills Wheelmen road ride. Meet at at Robert E. Melican Middle School, 145 Lincoln St., Northboro. Ride options of 43, 63 or 84 miles with the Seven Hills Wheelmen, Charles River Wheelmen and Nashoba Valley Pedalers. Information: (508) 831-0301, www.sevenhillswheelmen.org

Oct. 12 — Great River Ride Century/Berkshire Brevet RUSA 170K Populaire, Sons of Erin, 22 Williams St., Westfield. Presented by New Horizons Bikes. Information: http://newhorizonsbikes.com

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 19 — Quiet Corner NEMBA Fun Ride, Old Furnace State Park, Killingly, Conn. Presented by Quiet Corner chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association. Information: www.nemba.org

Oct. 25 — 13th annual Canton Cup Cyclo-Cross race, Massachusetts Hospital School, 3 Randolph St., Canton. Presented by North American Velo. Information: www.northatlanticvelo.org

Oct. 26 — Wicked Ride of the East, Kona Bicycles Mountain Bike Adventure Series, Harold Parker State Fores, North Andover. Presented by New England Mountain Bike Association. Information: www.nemba.org.

7 p.m. every Wednesday — NBX “Under the Lights” Cyclo-cross Training Series. Old Mountain Field, 831 Kingstown Road, South Kingstown, R.I. Registration at 6:30 p.m. Presented by NBX/Narragansett Beer Cycling Team and Apex Tech Group. Information: http://nbxbikes.com

6 p.m. every Friday — Seven Hills Wheelmen 30-mile road ride. Meet at Southbridge Bicycles, 100 Central St., Southbridge. Information: call (508) 831-0301 or visit www.sevenhillswheelmen.org

Selected Saturdays and Sundays — Seven Hills Wheelmen Easy C Rider road rides. Moderately paced bicycle rides, typically 15 to 35 miles, on relatively gentle terrain, on selected Saturdays and Sundays in the Worcester area. Starting times and locations are posted each week at www.easycrider.com.For more information, call (508) 831-0301 or visit www.sevenhillswheelmen.org.

9 a.m. every Saturday — Southbridge Bicycles road ride. Meet at Southbridge Bicycles, 100 Central St., Southbridge. Information: call (508) 764-3657 or visit www.southbridgebicycles.net

Submit bike listings to mark.conti@telegram.com; Mark Conti, Telegram & Gazette, P.O. Box 15012, Worcester, MA 01615-0012; or fax attention to Mark Conti at (508) 793-9363.


Cycling; Mountain bikers gaining support