Steamboat Springs, CO – The Yampa Valley Community Foundation announced the third grant from the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund (TMEF). Two grants totaling $7,852 will be awarded in December to two local land managers. A grant of $3,500 will be awarded to the US Forest Service for work on the Wyoming Trail NFST 1101 near Summit Lake in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. A second grant in the amount of $4,352 will be award to the City of Steamboat Springs for bridge replacement on Spring Creek trail.
Decisions on how to spend TMEF revenue are made by a board comprised of four land managers, one representative from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Association and two community members at large. Trail maintenance grant applications are requested and received annually in September. This year, the board vetted four grant applications from the US Forest Service and the City of Steamboat Springs.
The board decided to grant $4,352 to replace one of the several bridges on the popular Spring Creek trail. The Spring Creek bridges were installed over 25 years ago and many are reaching the end of their life span. This summer, bridge #8 had a dangerous crack that required an emergency fix. Rather than continue with quick repairs that will extend the life span by another year or two, the City of Steamboat Springs plans to fully replace the bridges. This grant will almost fully fund the request to replace one bridge at $5,270 per bridge.
The TMEF board also allocated $3,500 towards the Wyoming Trail, NFST 1101 near Summit Lake in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. Before Wilderness designation, this section of trail was used as a jeep road. The project will reduce the braided trail to one path and rehabilitate the unused portion. The committee felt strongly about funding this project because of opportunities to leverage the funding with other organizations. A segment of the trail is designated as the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST). The Steamboat Springs community, led by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the local USFS office, recently received designation as a CDNST Gateway Community. Funding is also leveraged with support from partner organization Friends of Wilderness, which is currently seeking external grant funds to repair this braided segment.
TMEF grants will be distributed by the end of this year. The USFS and the City of Steamboat Springs will determine whether to use a contracted entity or internal crews to perform the requested trail maintenance projects.
The purpose of the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund, held by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, is to provide a permanent endowment to support specific non-motorized trail and trailhead maintenance projects on public lands in Routt and Moffat counties. The TMEF fundraising goal is $1 million to $1.5 million in the next seven years. This would provide approximately $60,000 for trail maintenance projects each year. As of Nov. 7, 2018, the fund had a balance of $435,000.
The TMEF board meets every October to review grant applications and make recommendations for the Yampa Valley Community Foundation Board of Trustees to approve in November. The amount distributed is based on the endowment spending policy set by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.