Area land managers awarded nearly $20K in grants for trail work projects
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund is granting three area land managers a combined $19,300 for trail work projects around Routt County.
This is the fifth-consecutive year the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has issued grants from the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund, which was established in 2016 with the purpose of creating a permanent fund to support nonmotorized trails in Routt and Moffat counties.
The 2020 grants are going to the U.S. Forest Service, Pearl Lake State Park and the city of Steamboat Springs.
The endowment fund grants out 4.5% of its total assets each year and has grown to more than $700,000 in its short life.
“The endowment is growing, so we’ve been able to grant out more dollars every year,” said YVCF Community Impact Manager Helen Beall. “This is the most we’ve granted out. Since the endowment is so young, it’s really impressive the amount we’re granting out.”
The largest grant of $9,500 was given to the U.S. Forest Service to hire a full-time seasonal employee to complete area trail maintenance projects in the area of Buffalo Pass. The work will be based on Forest Service prioritization and popularity of trails. The person in the position will work with area volunteers as well as assist with enforcement.
Pearl Lake State Park was awarded $5,400 to convert a social trail between both boat ramps into an established trail.
“It’s not designed for people traffic,” said Park Manager Julie Arington. “It’s not really wide enough for people to pass. The goal is to establish grades that are going to be more sustainable and prevent erosion into the lake.”
The grant money will go toward materials, such as rock to build a retaining wall along the lakeside and above the trail to prevent erosion. The work is projected to be completed this summer.
With a more established trail, visitors can access either location no matter where they park.
The third grant recipient is the city of Steamboat Springs, which was awarded $4,000 to complete work on the NPR trail on the Emerald Mountain Trail Network.
“We saw a 20% increase in use this year with all the people coming to town,” said City Parks, Open Space and Trails Manager Craig Robinson. “Additionally, dollars for trail maintenance were cut, and trail staff were cut. A lot of the berms and jumps are deteriorating and falling apart. Some of the structures need to be rebuilt for safety and, obviously, fun.”
Robinson said the city had hoped the grant would cover half the expense, and a Great Outdoors Colorado grant would cover the rest, but the city didn’t receive funding from GOCO. So the trail work will not be as extensive as planned.
The downhill-only bike trail, also known as No Pedaling Required, was built five years ago and is due for a top-to-bottom rebuild. However, the grant from the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund won’t cover all the machine and manpower needed for a total rebuild. Instead, the money will go toward the sections of the trail with the most need.
“We’re always a little bit behind,” Robinson said about work on Emerald Mountain. “Maintenance is ongoing. … The work is pretty substantial that we need to do. We’re probably looking to have some volunteer work days.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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