The Western Slope Conservation Center has been awarded $45,000 from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife State Trails Program to plan a trail and other improvements at the Paonia River Park.
A primitive meandering trail and other improvements will add access to more than 14 acres of land along the river at the River Park that is currently inaccessible and undeveloped.
The Conservation Center hopes that the project will greatly increase the educational opportunities in the park as well as provide a vastly expanded area for wildlife viewing, kayaking, fishing and hiking. Planning will take place this summer and fall, and the Conservation Center will apply for construction funds to construct improvements in 2014 and 2015.
To determine community priorities for the park, the Conservation Center will seek input from park visitors, schools, children, parents, artists, landscape architects, town and county officials, recreation district members, churches, environmental groups, volunteer organizations, local coal mines, local gravel companies and water users.
To kick off community involvement, the Conservation Center is conducting a short, five-minute online public survey on general park use. The survey is on its website www.theconservationcenter.com and all community members who have been to the park are invited to fill it out. Complete it by Aug. 29 and you'll be entered into a raffle to win one of four prizes donated by North Fork Valley businesses:
• Six-course meal for two at your home prepared by a professional chef
• Solar cooking workshop and lunch for two
• Acupuncture treatment and consultation
• Biodynamic farming and gardening consultation
Community members are also invited to an open house on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. at the Paonia River Park to learn about it and share ideas for future park projects. After a draft of the plan is completed by a professional park planner this fall, the Conservation Center will host two more public meetings to gather feedback on the draft and present the final plan.
The award of the trail grant falls on the heels of eight years of planning, partnership building and fundraising by the Conservation Center. The grant was supported by letters from the Delta Conservation District, United Gravel Companies, the Town of Paonia, The Paonia Chamber of Commerce, the North Fork Vision Home and Community School, North Fork Pool Parks and Recreation District and the Paonia Kayak Club. To date, the park represents an investment by donors of over $500,000.blog comments powered by Disqus