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BoCC supports cross-country skiing as tourism attraction

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The county commissioners have continued their traditional support of the cross-country ski programs on Grand Mesa sponsored by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, saying the programs are a tourism draw that can be developed.

On Monday, the BoCC endorsed the GMNC's grant request to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for a grant that will help purchase a new trails grooming machine.

The GMNC's 35 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails are maintained on a regular schedule with an aging machine that council officials are working to replace.

The BoCC's support letter for the grant states, "The commissioners of Delta County enthusiastically support the GMNC grant for purchase of a new Nordic grooming machine.

"The Board of County Commissioners sees the GMNC's cross-country ski program as an untapped local resource for attracting tourists to the area."

The commissioners have made cash donations to the GMNC each year in the past, and in 2016 and 2017 those donations will be earmarked for the new snow grooming machine. The new machine will cost over $300,000.

Dave Knutson of Paonia, a GMNC board member, noted that Grand Mesa's setting, quality of snow and the cross-country ski opportunities it offers make it a unique venue in the nation for Nordic sports. The Grand Mesa offers a months-long cross-country skiing season. The County Line and Skyway areas, along with other backcountry venues on the mesa, offer ideal marketing opportunities for the county's tourism push.

In other business at its regular bi-monthly meeting on May 16, the board of county commissioners dealt with the following matters:

• The jail census for detention and work release combined on May 9 was 71; for May 16 the count stood at 60.

• The commissioners signed a letter of support for a federal lands access grant to make improvements to Escalante Canyon Road. The $1 million grant, if awarded, would require a $172,500 county match.

• The board signed an agreed funding of $25,193 for a multi-hazard mitigation plan that will increase emergency preparedness in the county.

• The commissioners approved a fireworks display permit for the Crawford Volunteer Fire Department at the community's June 11 Pioneer Days celebration.

• The commissioners signed off on required licenses and permits for ambulances that operate in the county.

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Commissioners, Skiing
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