Grand nets nearly half million dollars for trail work, land acquisition
The Great Outdoors Colorado board has awarded two grants totaling $458,750 for projects in Grand County.
The county, in partnership with the Headwaters Trail Alliance, received a $250,000 grant to improve trailheads at 15 locations across the county. Hot Sulphur Springs received a $208,750 grant to acquire a 270 acre property connecting the town to Arapaho National Forest.
Hot Sulphur Springs will use the funding to acquire the Himebaugh Creek property and develop the parcel into a public open space. This will provide recreational opportunities to residents in an area of town with no public park and expand outdoor recreation offerings during a time of increased use, according to a release.
The property contributes to the scenic views from US Highway 40, which sees approximately 3,600 cars each day. It is also an important migration corridor for big game and provides habitat for small mammals, several raptor species and neotropical migrant birds.
The release said current landowners are putting the land into a conservation easement, conveyed to the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, which will provide guidance to the town’s stewardship of the property.
Grand County will use its funds to improve trailheads at 15 locations that have seen record use since the pandemic began, according to the release. The fires this year have closed many trails in the area, further concentrating a large user base onto fewer trails and creating problems including illegal parking, litter, unregulated camping and trail erosion.
Trailheads for this work will include Twin Bridges, Lower Creekside, St. Louis Creek, Deadhorse, Leland Creek, Fraser River Canyon, Tab Rock and Hurd Peak.
Crews will make improvements across the locations by expanding parking lots, hardening trail surfaces, and installing interpretive signage, kiosks with COVID protocol information, bear-proof trash receptacles, bike racks and portable toilets.
The release explained that many of these trailheads have small, informal parking lots that cannot accommodate more than a few cars, while others do not have any sanitation facilities or trash receptacles.
Both grants are part of GOCO’s Resilient Communities program. Funded projects respond to one-time, immediate needs or opportunities that have emerged in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, GOCO has invested more than $16.8 million in projects in Grand while conserving more than 20,000 acres of land.
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Starting with snow Sunday evening, the inches are predicted to stack up in Grand County through Wednesday.