Erie Singletrack Advocates just welcomed the newest member to its team — it's tiny but mighty and goes by Baby Flo.
Baby Flo, a 29-inch bulldozer, was already put to work Monday, March 24, cutting new trail as part of the Sunset East trail system on the east side of Erie at the intersection of Weld County Roads 5 and 6 in the Sunset Open Space area.
Adam Haid, founder of ESA, a group advocating for local trails and parks, anticipates 2.5 miles of trails will be completed by April 1, thanks to the new trail building equipment.
Earlier this year, ESA volunteers completed 2 miles of trail as part of the Sunset West trail system, adjacent to Sunset East.
"Baby Flo will do in 40 to 50 hours what it took us to do in 1,100 hours by hand," Haid said.
The bulldozer is operated by Tony Boone, of Colorado's Tony Boone Trails, a trail builder of some 800 miles of trail around the world, according to information provided by ESA.
Baby Flo was shipped to Broomfield Monday from a build in Texas, Haid said, and immediately brought to Erie to begin work. March 25-28 was the only window Boone, who builds trails all year long, could offer his help until summer.
"He said if it wasn't now, it wouldn't be until July. We'd have it built by hand by then," Haid said. "He's an amazing trail builder."
ESA's trail designer Scott Winget also will continue to help in the trail's construction.
Erie board of Trustee Fred Mahe is an advocate for the single-track system and said the town is continuing to be a leader in outdoor activities.
"We are just trying to accommodate," he said Monday. "We all just like having fun outside and that goes up through the Board of Trustees and Town Hall."
The efficiency and the speed at which we'll have these (trails) cut ... it will be so nice to have it basically done in a (few days)," he said. "It's such a cool thing these guys are doing, we're really thankful to them.
The cost to utilize Baby Flo is normally $4.50 per square foot, but ESA contracted with Boone to do the work for 50 cents a square foot, bringing the total from $94,000 down to less than $10,000, Haid said.
Initially looking at maps, Haid said he estimated Baby Flo would be cutting 3.5 miles of trail, but, after pinning the area with flags, it will end up being a mile less.
Boone will be building off a three-quarter mile slope on 75 acres of land, which will include three downhill lines and one uphill line, Haid said.
The access point to the trail system is the same intersection as the Erie Landfill.
Cyclists can park along the road for now, but Haid hopes to some day have a parking area and trailhead constructed at the site. He couldn't hazard a guess as to when that might come to fruition.
Haid said he also hopes to add more obstacles to the single track to challenge cyclists' skills, and to later offer clinics and other biking events. The point in building the trail is to act as a stepping stone to something more advanced — those who aren't ready for biking in the mountains can start in Erie.
"Erie is providing a wonderful opportunity for its residents and neighbors to participate in outdoor recreation," he said.