CDOT grant helps launch Steamboat’s Hike and Bike to School Challenge
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs elementary and middle school students who opt to hike or bike to campus this school year will be eligible for a variety of prizes to reward that healthy decision.
A $23,000 two-year grant from the Colorado Department of Education is boosting the Safe Routes to School program, an effort by the Bike Town USA initiative and the Steamboat Springs School District.
“With the grant, we’re going to be able to support the spring bike rodeos that we have at the end of the year, and we’re going to start an incentive program,” said Sally Cariveau, Safe Routes project coordinator.
The Hike and Bike to School Challenge begins Friday, Sept. 11, and continues each Friday throughout the school year, weather permitting.
Students in each of the elementary schools and at Steamboat Springs Middle School will use in-class posters to tally the number of days they commute, and prizes will be awarded to those who commute at least five times during the year and those that commute the most days. An additional grand prize drawing will reward commuters at each school.
The large grand prize could be a scooter or longboard, while smaller prizes for commuting regularly will be T-shirts, Cariveau said.
All students in kindergarten to eighth grade are eligible to participate. Students who normally ride the bus can, with a permission slip, be dropped off at Steamboat Springs High School and hike the last 3/4 of a mile via Butcherknife Trail to Strawberry Park Elementary or Steamboat Springs Middle School, or hikers and bikers can follow other specifically-mapped safe routes.
The program is beneficial to students, because it allows them to get exercise just before class begins.
“They’re more awake and ready for school,” Cariveau said. “It’s proven that just getting out and getting some physical exercise helps kids learn better.”
The program helps promote the use of biking etiquette and safety measures at a young age, earning support from the Bike Town USA initiative.
“One of the key parts of our mission at Bike Town USA is to promote safety, and by starting at a young age with children hiking and biking to school, they learn good cycling etiquette and safety, and hopefully, they carry that on to their adult years,” said Amy Stern, director of Bike Town USA. “We’re thrilled to support this program.”
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After several Steamboat Springs Transit drivers caught COVID-19 recently, the operation had to adjust its routes around New Year’s celebrations and The MusicFest at Steamboat, two of the city’s busiest weeks of the year.