The Great Outdoors Colorado Board today awarded a $100,000 grant to Pitkin County for planning the Carbondale to Crested Butte Trail.
The Connect Initiative trail-planning grant will be combined with a $200,000 allocation from Pitkin County Open Space and Trails to fund planning work, and environmental and engineering studies for the envisioned trail. The trail project was named to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful Initiative earlier this year, placing it on a list of 16 priority trail projects across the state.
Open Space and Trails will begin the planning phase early in 2017, with public open houses scheduled Jan. 12 at the Church at Redstone and Jan. 18 at Carbondale Town Hall. The gatherings, both from 5-7 p.m., are an opportunity for citizens to express their initial thoughts and discuss the data they’d like to see collected to help guide decisions about where the trail is routed. Public discussions on where to place the trail will occur later in the year.
The trail will cross roughly 83 miles between Carbondale and Crested Butte. Within Pitkin County, the planning will focus on route options between the existing terminus of the Crystal Valley Trail, south of Carbondale, and the top of McClure Pass.
The public can sign up for email updates on this planning process at www.pitkinostprojects.com and keep tabs on the effort as it moves forward.
GOCO’s Connect Initiative grant was created to help municipalities and their partners navigate the complicated planning process for trails and help get projects ready for construction grants, which are also offered through the Initiative. GOCO grants are funded through Colorado Lottery proceeds.
Planning for the Carbondale to Crested Butte Trail will be a year-long effort, involving the public, both Pitkin and Gunnison counties, the Town of Crested Butte, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and both the White River and Grand Mesa/Uncompahgre/Gunnison national forests.
GOCO funding will help complete a trail plan that identifies routes for current missing links and helps partners begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation process, which will assess the environmental impacts of the proposed trail route where it traverses federal lands. The NEPA review is expected in 2018 with potential construction starting in 2019.
To date, GOCO has invested $7.6 million in Pitkin County projects and has conserved more than 4,400 acres of land there. GOCO funding has gone into Sky Mountain Park, the Rio Grande Trail, and Basalt High School’s running track, among other projects.
Contact: Lindsey Utter, Planning and Outreach Manager for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails
firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-920-5224