Area Trails Receive Trail upgrades over the Summer
2020 Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund Grant Report
Steamboat Springs, CO – With the recent snow arriving, maintenance and summer work on area trails has come to a halt. This summer, local crews were busy completing five area projects headed by three local land managers. The completion of these projects was made possible with funding from the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund (TMEF).
The funding allowed for work on three trails on property managed by the City of Steamboat Springs. One of the most popular trails in Steamboat Springs, the Core Trail, received overdue maintenance to 460-feet of soft-surface trail paralleling the concrete path. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps provided the local boots on the ground to complete this project. The goal of the repairs was to bring the trail back to a three-foot-wide trail, allowing better access for trial users. This increased space was especially critical this summer to help user’s maintain social distance.
Two additional trails, Prayer Flag Trail and Spring Creek Loop received funding to cover a mini-excavator rental cost for one week. Prayer Flag Trail was built unsustainably as a fall-line trail through a meadow. Before completing work this summer, the trail had been badly eroded and cupped, making it impassable for users. The re-route now follows the hill’s contour lines and moves mostly out of the meadow to the hillside’s forested area.
The Spring Creek Pond Loop Trail became inaccessible because of the Springs Creek Dam construction in the fall of 2019. The re-route creates a “lollipop loop” to extend the trail and give users a better trail experience for both humans and dogs. Both of these projects were completed with help from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.
The TMEF board provided Moffat County funding for materials for a bridge replacement on the Kiwanis Trail located at Loudy-Simpson Park near the City of Craig. The relocation of the trail was necessary due to erosion along the Yampa River that forced the removal of a bridge.
Before the upgrades, the trail was not accessible during the spring when the river was high. The bridge now allows year-round access to the trail.
The TMEF board made a grant to the U.S. Forest Service to hire one full-time, seasonal employee to complete area trail maintenance projects based on USFS prioritization and popularity of trails. TMEF provided funding for the position.
The local district includes over 450 miles of trails. The priorities began in spring to remove downed trees from high-use trails and trails heavily impacted by beetle kill and moved toward deferred maintenance as the summer continued. This position worked closely with local volunteer groups to maximize these efforts. The crew member worked to reroute a portion of the CDT trail, cut thousands of trees after the September blow-down, made contact with the public and provided local enforcement, and much more. You can view a complete report here.
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 by 2026. This would provide approximately $60,000 for trail maintenance projects each year. As of November 2, 2020, the fund had a balance of $676,971.98.
Decisions on how to spend TMEF revenue are made by a board comprised of four land managers, one representative from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, and two community members at large. Trail maintenance grant applications are requested and received annually in September.
The TMEF board meets every October to review grant applications and recommend 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.