Colorado trails receive $1.7 million from parks board

By Real Aspen
Real AspenMarch 11, 2011
The Colorado State Parks Board has approved more than $1.7 million in grants for recommended recreational trail projects this year, including $200,000 in Garfield County.
The grants fund trail work in Colorado like this.

The Colorado State Trails Committee, composed of nine volunteers with backgrounds in trails, recommended grants including $1.34 million for building and maintaining large trails, $183,283 for small trails and $181,237 for planning new trails and supporting volunteer efforts. The board signed off of on the funding, which all goes toward multi-use non-motorized trails.

The recipients of the largest grants were the city of Fruita, city of Colorado Springs and ECO Trails Program of Garfield County, which each received $200,000 grants for trail projects. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative will receive $199,780 and the USDA Forest Service Gunnison Ranger District was awarded $197,164.

“Trails are such an integral part of the outdoor experience with cities, counties and trails programs throughout the state benefiting from these grants,” said Gary Thorson, Colorado State Parks assistant director for programs. “For many, Colorado’s trails are the primary gateway to exploring the outdoors and are used by millions of Coloradans each year. These grants provide much-needed funds for new trails, to help maintain existing trails in good condition and to train volunteers in the trails program. Maintaining Colorado’s trails will keep this state as a world-wide destination for outdoor recreational pursuits.”

The grants are funded by the Colorado State Parks Board and the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board, the Colorado Lottery, the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program and the U.S. Interior Department’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. GOCO, the single largest source of grant money, provided $1 million of the total awarded through its share of lottery proceeds

The nine-member State Trails Committee is appointed by the Colorado State Parks Board and includes a representative from each of the seven congressional districts, one at-large member each from the off-highway vehicle and snowmobile community and one member from the GOCO Board.

The committee received 43 grant applications requesting more than $4 million and worked with three 12-member subcommittees to review grant applications for large construction and maintenance, small construction and maintenance, and planning and support.

The 19 grants awarded went to city and county governments, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, SLV Recycles (a Nordic skiing group), the Bureau of Land Management, Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, Colorado Youth Corps Association and the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership.

Attracting more than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado's 42 state parks are a cornerstone of Colorado's economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 224,447 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks is a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,300 campsites, and 63 cabins and yurts.

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