The Steamboat Springs Running Series takes strides to support Trail Maintenance
By Helen Beall, Community Impact Manager- Yampa Valley Community Foundation
Its boom time for recreation in Colorado!
As more and more people are out enjoying the trails, it’s important that we have a funding source to maintain them. At the same time, federal funding to manage these lands has been drying up as increased funding is allocated to fight forest fires. To address this funding problem, Northwest Colorado took a new approach to manage the maintenance problem.
With some out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration, land managers and community partners decided on an endowment fund, the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund (TMEF). The Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which manages the fund, started a campaign in 2016 to raise $1 to $1.5 million over a 10-year period. That principle will remain in the fund for perpetuity, generating interest that will be used annually to fund trail maintenance grants.
“It’s a unique approach to solving the maintenance problem,” says U.S. Forest Service recreation specialist Kent Foster. “Ensuring you have the means to maintain trails is far more difficult than building them. Having the foresight to address those needs in perpetuity is a testament to our community’s commitment to its trails. It will help ensure we have great trails for years to come.”
Three years into the campaign, the community has raised more than $485,000 and has issued multiple grants totaling almost $15,000 for trail maintenance projects. A board comprised of land managers and community representatives decide which proposals get funds.
The following trail maintenance projects have been funded:
- 2016 Grant: $2,303 grant to the United States Forest Service for work on Fish Creek Falls trail to build a minor retaining wall just past the first bridge.
- 2017 Grant: $4,290.74 grant to the United States Forest Service for work on a trail section on the 1101 to reduce braided sections of trail and rehab the unused portion of the trail. A portion of the grant also completed work on Uranium Mine trail.
- 2018 Grants: Total grants – $7,852
(1) $3,500 grant to the United States Forest Service for work on a trail section on the 1101 to reduce braided sections of trail and rehab the unused portion of the trail. (continued project from last year)
(2) $4,352 grant to the City of Steamboat Springs to replace one damaged bridge on Spring Creek Trail.
Proceeds from the Colorado Divide Trail Run in 2018 and 2017 and voluntary funds raised through the Steamboat Springs Running Series race registration process has generously provided $5,830 to the TMEF. On behalf of all trail users, thank you Steamboat Springs Running Series for your ongoing support of the TMEF. The ten-year campaign to raise $1 to $1.5 million will wrap up in 2026 and until then, the trails are thankful for the continued love and support.
For more information about the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund or visit here to make a donation.