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Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Breckenridge troll Isak Heartstone reopens with new look in new location
Breckenridge’s beloved trail troll, Isak Heartstone, is ready to receive visitors at his new home.
The 15-foot tall wooden sculpture reopens to the public Tuesday after closing in fall 2018 when nearby residents complained about too much traffic and noise from thousands of visitors.
“Its popularity was beyond all exceptions,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said. “That’s why we felt it was important to bring it back.”
After it was dismantled, artist Thomas Dambo reimagined the troll — using its original head, heart, hands and feet — and rebuilt it in May in a new location near the Stephen C. West Ice Arena and Illinois Gulch trailhead.
A ribbon cutting is at 2:30 p.m. at Trollstigen trailhead. Visitors are encouraged to take the bus or walk 15 minutes from the Breckenridge Welcome Center to reduce traffic at the site.The celebration is the culmination of months of planning by a relocation committee and trail work by the town’s open space and trails department.
“We put together a community committee … to find a new location for the troll to bring him back in some reimagined form,” Breckenridge Open Space and Trails manager Anne Murphy said.
The committee — which was composed of Breckenridge residents, town council members and town employees — worked to find a location that was accessible and adventurous, offered an outdoor experience for visitors and could sustain a high amount traffic. The committee also searched for a site that had parking and no residential areas nearby.
The new site “checked all the boxes for us,” Holman said.
The new directional Trollstigen trail — which was built by a six-person team from the trails department along with a local contractor — features a rock-lined path, 200 feet of wooden boardwalk and a flagstone area in front of the troll for photos and selfies, Murphy said.
We decided this trail has to sustain a lot of foot traffic for a very long time to come,” Murphy said.
She said the town hopes to keep Isak for as long as possible, planning for a 10-year timeframe.
Holman described the new viewing area as “unbelievable,” saying town staff went above and beyond in creating Isak’s new home.
“I don’t think anyone ever dreamed it would be as popular as it was,” he said.