The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has capitulated to the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and agreed to reroute Kokopelli's Trail so mountain bikers won't trespass on railroad right of way.
The new route on the trail, which links Loma, Colo., with Moab, will be eight miles longer than the original 128-mile length.The BLM decided to divert the trail after the railroad pulled signs on a five-mile section of trail, contending that bikers were trespassing on railroad right of way.
"We didn't want to legally fight it out at this point," said Grand Junction BLM realty specialist Carlos Sauvage.
He said the BLM had looked at cutting the 128-mile trail through a section of the Bitter Creek Valley near the Colorado-Utah border but decided the shorter route, part of which followed the railroad tracks, would be better.
He said the BLM had determined that section of trail was a public road based on 40 years of usage by ranchers and county maintenance workers.
Bikers used the trail for a year and a half after it was finished in the spring of 1989.
But a dispute arose in October when a marathon was run on the trail. Railroad workers, who said they were worried about the safety of runners and spectators, held trains while the race passed through that area.
"This reroute may be a silver lining in the cloud with regard to the railroad," said Timms Fowler, president of the Colorado Plateau Mountain-Bike Trail Association Inc.