Bridging the trail that Lloyd built

Bridge to Geyser Springs may be named in honor of foreman

DOLORES - The Dolores recreation district is working to dedicate and name a new bridge connecting the Geyser Springs Trail over the West Dolores River after former trail crew foreman Lloyd McNeil, who passed away this spring.

McNeil was the key person in reconstructing the Geyser Springs Trail, which was steep and hard to find before he and his crew rerouted it. His goal was to improve and interpret the trail so people could see the only true geyser in Colorado.

McNeil's concern for public safety led to relocation of the trail's parking lot years ago. The old trailhead was on a dangerous corner with little space and no right-of-way. The river crossing was also a problem; stepping stones were only a temporary fix.

The new bridge being constructed this summer will solve both a safety and trespass issue, because people would use the adjacent private land owner's bridge when the river was high.

Because of McNeil's level of involvement on the Geyser Trail, it was affectionately known on the district as the "Geezer Trail." McNeil, whose Forest Service career spanned three decades, was in his 70s when he reluctantly retired.

He will be remembered as one of the last of his breed. He was always a hands-on forest service employee; the kind of guy who could not drive past a piece of trash without stopping to pick it up.

McNeal treated the forest like he would his own property; with love, dedication and care. He also was able to build sustaining relationships with many local area volunteer groups. The hope is that many people will smile and remember him as they cross the bridge and enjoy the trail that Lloyd built.