Point Park improvement project in the works | SkyHiNews.com

Point Park improvement project in the works

Jessica Smith

It’s been three years since volunteers planted trees and seedlings in Point Park to make up for the devastation of beetle kill. Since then, the trees have grown and flourished, but other improvements remain to be made.

The U.S. Forest Service is working with the Arapaho Roosevelt Pawnee Foundation to raise the $25,000 required to outfit the park with new benches, interpretive signs, and the re-paving of deteriorated sections of the trail.

“We’ve done some good in things in the park the last few years,” said Dan Matthews, project manager of the Arapaho National Recreation Area, “and there’s a few things that would really bring up the park to the standard where we would like to see it.”

One of those enhancements includes interpretive signs stationed strategically around the park to educate and inform visitors about the historic nature of the area. The signs will be designed professionally by the Forest Service, and research is currently being done as to what information the signs will provide.

Point Park is known for its natural beauty, with sweeping views of Mt. Craig (also known as Mt. Baldy), and is within biking distance of the town of Grand Lake. Another attribute of the park is its handicapped accessibility, allowing wider access to its views and fishing. While part of the park trail was renovated in an earlier project, the other portion now requires attention.

Re-paving the trail is a large part of the Point Park project. The Forest Service has applied for an internal grant for $11,000 for this purpose, and hopes to hear back soon from the regional office.

Fundraising for the signs and park benches is being handled by the Arapaho Roosevelt Pawnee Foundation, in conjunction with Grand Lake community members, particularly Barbara Leutwiler. The foundation hopes to raise $15,000 to complete the project.

“With limited funding, it’s not possible for the Forest Service to do everything it’d like to do, so we try to help out with their priority projects,” said Dan Nolan, who is on the ARP Foundation board of directors.

The foundation assisted with Point Park improvements in the past, including the tree re-planting, and hopes to be of help again. They plan to gather funds and volunteers. As a non-profit organization, donations made to the foundation are tax-deductible.

Leutwiler herself has a personal connection to the park. The land was once owned by her father, and today the park borders her property. To say that she is close to the project would be an understatement.

“In 2009 it was absolutely decimated, it looked like a moonscape,” said Leutwiler. “I took it upon myself to do massive reforestation, for which I’m very grateful to the government and to the town, and Harrington Landscape. … We had this wonderful community outpouring of love and support.”

Now, Leutwiler is counting on that same support for these further improvements. Nine (or possibly 10) wooden benches will sit throughout the park, each with a plaque dedicated to the donator, or as a memorial in honor of someone special. At least two benches remain open for donation. Bench donations start at $1,000.

Leutwiler and the foundation are hoping to begin work on the improvements by mid-September.

“If they [volunteers] can’t donate, they can always come with their hands, their shovels, their trowels, a little sweat, and help us plant those benches this time,” she said.

“Please contribute to a magnificent park that will remain if we maintain it, in the hearts and the minds of our community and our visitors, hopefully forever.”

For more information visit: http://www.arp-foundation.org/projects.php or call Leutwiler, 303-817-9144, or Nolan, 720-937-8058.

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