BoCC moves to support trail plan

By Hank Lohmeyer


To help develop tourist amenities and aid local economic development efforts, the Board of County Commissioners on Monday added its support for a grant request to CDOT. The money, if awarded, would be used to develop and interpret part of the Old Spanish Trail that runs through Delta and Mesa counties.

The commissioners' letter of support for the grant notes that the Highway 50 Heritage Corridor project "seeks to provide travelers along the corridor with safe and easily accessible opportunities to pull off and enjoy the scenic vistas and interpretative kiosks showcasing the natural and cultural heritage of western Colorado."

The project, as envisaged, would eventually construct, sign and provide interpretative panels at nine locations along a 24-mile stretch of Highway 50 (mileposts 41 to 65).

The plan also calls for off-site interpretation of the Old Spanish Trail as well as the development of a variety of recreational trails accessible from the highway.

Before voting to support the grant request, Commissioner Doug Atchley noted "for the record" that the trail was originally opened as a route for driving livestock (sheep and horses) from areas in New Mexico to the west. The Old Spanish Trail was used for the livestock drives because it provided water that other routes lacked.

Commissioners have also expressed support for retaining public sheep grazing allotments in the area where the trail was originally created.