OLRT funds trailwork, land acquisition for spring cycle


Grand County approved funding over $900,000 toward trails and open spaces on Tuesday.

The county commissioners agreed to finance 10 asks from the Open Lands, Rivers and Trails funds for the spring grant cycle. The OLRT fund comes from a countywide 0.3% sales tax dedicated to open lands, rivers and trails.

Representatives for the OLRT advisory committee made recommendations to the board for land acquisition and trailwork requests, noting that all of the granted amounts make up only a portion of the total costs of the projects.

The OLRT only received one grant request for open lands or rivers this cycle and it came from Winter Park. The $800,000 requested by the town relates to the preservation of the open space east of the Fraser River.

The amount is equal to 40% of the total project to obtain 7.43 acres of land — though the preserved land would just be the 4.07 acres adjacent to the river. This land would be a preserved along the river and the site of a future trail, giving public access to 1,000 feet of river.

The board approved granting the funds pending legal review. With this grant, $979,403 is left in the open lands and rivers side of funding.

On the trails side, the OLRT received nine grant requests totaling $144,505, exceeding for the first time ever the amount of funds available, which was $126,086.

The main requester was Headwaters Trails Alliance, which asked for financial assistance in five projects. These included $12,250 for Jim Creek Trail, where major wind events in September destroyed trail tread; $5,500 for Wolford area trail maintenance; $7,500 for materials, supplies and planning of this year’s Public Lands Day; $19,840 for trail maintenance on Pinball Ridge near Winter Park; and $15,000 for a new snowmobile to expand the group’s winter trail grooming program.

Fraser asked for $14,385 to reroute part of the Lunch Loop trail and extend an existing culvert. The town also requested $14,400 for maintenance on the Fraser River Trail, though that amount could go down if Fraser finds other funding sources.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition will receive $5,630 for tree clearance on the Continental Divide Trail between Devil’s Thumb and Monarch Lake and for fire rehabilitation at Willow Pass.

The last receiver is the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District, which requested $50,000 for fire recovery. The advisory committee recommended partially funding this grant at $25,000.

The commissioners unanimously approved all the recommendations from the advisory committee. The fall grant cycle for OLRT opens Aug. 9 and applications will be due Sept. 10.

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