Grand County Trails: Trails are at the heart of health and economy in Grand | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Trails: Trails are at the heart of health and economy in Grand

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Diana Lynn Rau
Staff Photo |

Grand County trails are the backbone of our economy. Trails are used by locals and visitors alike for hiking, mountain biking, horseback or trail riding, dirt biking, hunting, snowmobiling, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, commuting to work, exercising the dog or just stretching your legs while you talk with your friends.

We live here because of the scenery, because of those trails, and because we enjoy being in the out-of-doors in the elements and challenging ourselves. But many of the old ranches and farms have been broken up and sold to people who are not aware of the old system of trails and logging roads used by residents and visitors alike. In the last 20 years, locals have formed user groups like Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, Headwaters Trails Alliance and the most recent Grand Mountain Bike Alliance to help keep track of the old trails systems and proposed new changes, working with developers, individual landowners and Federal agencies. Since Grand County is 68 percent federal lands, these groups work with government and development. There is a recent push for a new Trails Master Plan, which would be more comprehensive than the old document, and a county-wide sign plan that incorporates the needs of each group, complete with maps.

There are still programs like Adopt-A-Trail currently sponsored by the U.S. Forest, and Headwaters Trails Alliance, offering ways for residents and businesses to get involved. Call Andy Borek at U.S. Forest Service 970-509-9103 or Maura McKnight at Headwaters 970-726-1013 to adopt your favorite trail today. Headwaters needs more help because one person can’t do it all, such as funding requests, political coordination and networking, trail planning and evaluation, volunteer coordination, trail construction and maintenance, and more. Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails still funds the materials put on those trails by adopters and helps with education and signs. The Partnership, which is all volunteer, gets its funding from donations — primarily from its annual Duckie Race held each year in August. Call Jeff Russell 970-531-1582 to get involved.

Our trails are wonderful, but we are competing for the tourist dollars with other areas that have good trails systems as well. Many of those systems are backed by taxes and other funding sources, and those communities sing their praises to draw in the wandering public. To compete — when trained help and construction and maintenance funds are so scarce — we need to insist that our agencies invest in sustainable construction of new trails and new connectors and thoughtful reconstruction of what we have. Tell your town and county officials that trails are important to you and you want to see your taxpayer dollars have an impact, helping you and other citizens, whether for health or for economic gain.

Headwaters Trails Alliance needs more help because one person can’t do it all, such as funding requests, political coordination and networking, trail planning and evaluation, volunteer coordination, trail construction and maintenance, and more. What has been accomplished by one or two paid staff and a handful of volunteers over the last few years is amazing, but HTA is no longer a one-person job. Get involved and help make our trails system the best it can be.


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