Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues its tradition of supporting trails with grants of $6.18 million slated for distribution in 2015 and 2016.
"Colorado residents love their trails and CPW's trails program provides something for every trail user in the state," said Tom Morrissey, state trails program manager.
The grants go to a variety of trails projects in all areas of the state, including new construction, trail maintenance, signage, education, law enforcement and equipment purchases. Around the state, grants for 2015 and 2016 for multi-purpose motorized trails and activities will total $4.2 million, and non-motorized trails programs will receive $1.98 million.
The money for the motorized projects comes from off-highway vehicle registration fees paid in Colorado. As required by state law, all money collected from the registrations goes to building and maintaining motorized trails. Motorized trails are open to all other trails users -- hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
Grant money for non-motorized trails comes from Great Outdoors Colorado, the federal recreation trails program, and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The American Recreation Coalition and Coalition for Recreational Trails recently named Colorado a recipient of the organization's Annual Achievement Award for outstanding use of recreational trails programs funds.
Every year government agencies and trail groups from throughout the state submit proposals to CPW for trail work. Projects range from construction of new trails for off-highway vehicles on federal public lands to maintenance of backcountry hiking trails, from rebuilding paved hiker-biker greenways within municipalities, to providing funding for law enforcement efforts on remote motorized trails. Grants are also provided for project planning, improving environmental conditions, and educational seminars and campaigns.
All trail construction and maintenance projects are reviewed by CPW trail experts and field biologists to assure conflicts between wildlife and trail uses are minimized, that trails are designed properly, and that trails won't cause resource damage to slopes or wetlands.
A major part of the motorized trails program is the funding of 19 "Good Management" trail crews which fan out throughout the state to perform maintenance work on trails. Those crews are hired by the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"The maintenance work is very important to the overall program. We want to make sure that trails are in good condition, that use does not harm the environment and that trails are safe for all users," Morrissey said.
Much of the money from the motorized trails program goes to the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM to pay for construction and maintenance of off-highway vehicle trails on federal lands.
"CPW was able to fund $6.18 million of the $6.78 million requested, so the vast majority of project requests did receive funding," Morrissey said. "Colorado's program is comprehensive; funding goes to all aspects of trail development."
Among the grants for the area are:
• Grand Mesa, Western Slope ATV Association, trail preservation, $93,000;
• Ridgway, construction/maintenance, $200,000;
• Uncompahgre BLM trail crew, $85,000;
• Gateway, Grand Valley Ranger District, Last Chance loop construction, $99,715;
• Uncompahgre Plateau, Thunder Mountain Wheelers, $195,746;
• Mesa County, construction/maintenance, Bridgeport trail underpass, $35,765.
Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us for a complete list of the grants supporting trail programs across the state.