Students’ Perspectives on Gravel Mine Threatening Solstice Trail

Salida Racing member, Seda Condell, rides her bike at a mountain bike race last season. She among others, love riding the Soltice trail on Methodist which is being threatened by the gravel mine expansion.

Salida Racing member, Seda Condell, rides her bike at a mountain bike race last season. She among others, love riding the Soltice trail on Methodist which is being threatened by the gravel mine expansion.

Charlie Messa, Staff Reporter

The Butala Sand and Gravel mine on Methodist Mountain is planning on expanding 50 acres. This would affect some of the major trials on Methodist such as Little Rainbow and the new Solstice Trail. 

The expansion of the mine would take out almost all of the Solstice Trail, which is a newly built trail that the town and Salida Mountain Trails spent almost $50,000 making. According to Matt Miller who wrote the article “The Solstice Trail in Salida May be at Risk After a Proposed Mine Expansion” from,  it is also one of the most popular trails in Salida. 

The mine expansion would also affect another popular trail, the Little Rainbow. The mine would border near the Little Rainbow, make a lot of noise and the view from the trail would not be very enjoyable. 

Jodi DeMoss, SHS English teacher and coach on Salida Racing high school mountain bike team, shared her opinion about the possible mine expansion. 

“It bothers me a lot. Not just in the sense that I’m a mountain biker, and that they are taking away trail recreation, but one of the things that allow Salida to grow and enjoy some of the prosperity of our town is all the trail creation. If they decide to promote the gravel expansion company over tourism and promotion of trails for hiking and biking, we’re not going to see the town look as beautiful.”

She was also concerned about how the expansion might affect our local high school team.

“The biking team works on finding trails that are less used to make sure that when our big group is coming through, “we don’t get into too many people’s way.” If the expansion of the gravel “mine” were to happen, “it would make the task of finding less frequently used trails a lot harder.” 

SHS junior and member of the MTB team, Seda Condell, explaine

d how she feels about the development of the mine.

“I know I have no control over what the gravel company does, and I know that they are taking into account the trails and will vote before making the decision, but I find it really unsettling that they are just so willing to destroy this part of Salida that so many people love and use just because it makes them money. It makes me wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the Methodist Mountain Trail System.”

Also when asked if she thinks that the town could have handled this a different way what she said, “I would have avoided affecting the trail system at all. In the long run, it might be better considering the fact that if they are concerned about getting more profit in the long run, other locations may be more suitable.” She also stated, “I just want to preserve our trails and the desert forests that surround them.” 

Sophomore Rowynn Slivka rides her bike at the Nathrop mountain bike scrimmage a couple of weeks ago. The Solstice trail is one of Slivka’s favorite trails near Salida.

Sophomore Rowynn Slivka spoke on the issue as well.

“Solstice is one of my favorite trails in Salida and Little Rainbow is just a super good medium level ride up there. I’m sure that they have the best intentions at heart when they expand and I’m sure it’s probably hard to find ways to keep everything (trails and private property) but it would be a big loss for riders if those trails were taken out.”

The gravel mine company and the town haven’t come to a final decision yet on what they are going to do. If they expand it will most likely upset a lot of the people that bike these trails. 

DeMoss said it could have a big effect on the town’s tourist income. People come from all over to bike in Salida. Solstice and Little Rainbow are two really popular trails that people use. If they are taken away or obstructed upon, “fewer people might come to bike these areas in the summer. If fewer people come to Salida, small businesses that depend on the profit from tourists will have a hard time because there are less tourists coming in.” 

The gravel mine expansion on Methodist Mountain is still an ongoing decision. Unfortunately, the period to send in comments about the trail has ended, but you can find out more info here at Salida Gravel mine expansion.