As you may know, the Anne U. White Trail has remained closed since it was damaged significantly by the September 2013 flood. If you don’t know about this gem, it is located just west of North Boulder. The trail is a unique, natural surface hiking trail about 1¾ miles in length that traverses up a narrow canyon through relatively pristine riparian montane forest, hopscotching back and forth across Fourmile Canyon Creek.
A Chance for Improvement & Celebration
We have appreciated your patience during the extended closure that has allowed Parks & Open Space to take advantage of opportunities the flood recovery process presented to better manage parking and construct a more resilient trail. This process also gives us the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of Anne White and the valuable contributions she, and other early open space advocates, have made to our community that we are fortunate to enjoy today.
“I want to make a note, though, of the preservation of this trail for another reason. That is, we often preserve trails as important environmental preservation areas or preserve a critical wildlife habitat, as a place to contemplate or as a place to recharge the spirit; but I think one other thing that we do with a very busy population, is that we find the trails a place to meet friends and to visit with them as we hike. So, I like to think about this as a friendship trail.”
– Commissioner Josie Heath
Flood recovery in the area has been multi-faceted, including reconstruction of Wagonwheel Gap Road and restoration of the adjacent stream. Two parcels on Pinto Drive adjacent to the Anne U. White Trail were acquired through the flood buyout program and property was donated from another neighbor. Used in combination with some road right-of-way, the parking area is being expanded from five spaces to 29 to better meet the demand on weekends. With funding assistance from GOCO, the new trailhead project will be more resilient to future flooding and hasten recovery of the stream. A new, permanent restroom is also planned for the trailhead.
Work to reconstruct the trail itself has also been on-going. Our trails crew and Youth Corps teams have worked to build 28 stream crossings, construct nearly 3,500 feet of new trail, and repair approximately 2,500 feet of trail. All work has been done by hand! Volunteers also participated in flood clean-up efforts, trail work, and revegetation projects. In addition, generous community members contributed more than $20,000 to the Parks & Open Space Foundation to support stream restoration along the trail.
A Bit More About Anne U. White
Anne White was a champion of open space in Boulder County and an early member of the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee, serving from 1976 to 1982. She and her husband, Gilbert White, known for his contributions to federal floodplain management policy, were instrumental in helping Boulder County acquire the rights to the informal footpath that became her namesake trail when construction of a road through the canyon was being proposed. The Whites donated a parcel of land to the county that was key to the successful protection of the trail. The trail was dedicated to her in 1988.
Parks & Open Space is excited to soon reopen this trail to the public, provide an improved experience along the trail and at the trailhead, and celebrate the legacy of Anne White. See you on the trail, friends!