Outdoor recreation in southern Colorado is getting a boost from state grants

Andy Schlosberg, Colorado State Forest Service
Pikes Peak is seen looking south from South Catamount Reservoir off the Pikes Peak Highway in fall of 2016.

Trailwork groups in southern Colorado are among dozens statewide that are receiving funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to help with planning, maintenance and improvements. These grants are part of nearly $8 million distributed as part of the agency’s 2024 Non-Motorized Trails and Land and Water Conservation Grant programs.

A $250,000 grant will help pay for more than a mile of new trail along with other work on Mount Shavano, a 14,000-foot peak near Salida. Another quarter of a million dollars is going to help pay for rerouting the Devils Playground trail on Pikes Peak in Teller County. A third award for the same amount is going to the City of Colorado Springs to improve the trail system at Blodgett Open Space on the northwest side of the city. 

San Luis Valley Great Outdoors is receiving more than $137,000 to use toward maintaining some 30 miles of pathways. Funding is also going to the Wormhole System, Oil Well Flats and Rito Seco in Las Animas, Fremont and Costilla counties respectively.

These grants “will empower local agencies to create and maintain accessible trails while prioritizing wildlife conservation,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis in a recent emailed announcement.

The grant program combines resources from state and federal partners to help acquire and develop public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.

Southern Colorado Grant summaries as provided by CPW

Mt. Shavano Reconstruction, Phase in Chaffee County

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative was awarded a $250,000 grant to fund phase two of a three-phase project. This phase will involve building 6,500 linear feet of new trail and closing/restoring 4,100 linear feet of the social trail. The crews will be split into a lower and higher crew building timber check steps, retaining walls and rock steps. The restoration work will include check dams, native plant plugs and seeding.

Blodgett Open Space Development in Colorado Springs

This $250,000 grant goes to the City of Colorado Springs for a project that involves updating Blodgett Open Space in accordance with the Blodgett Open Space Master Plan. The construction work will include: trailhead improvements and expansion, building more sustainable trails in the system, new wayfinding, maps and signs. The trails will include additional connectivity to the larger system, mountain only trails and restoring social trails not included in the plan.

Devils Playground Trail Reroute in Teller County

The Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) is getting a $250,000 grant to use for trails on Pikes Peak. This project will continue work on the final 1.5 miles of the Devils Playground reroute. This phase will be 8,100 linear feet of new trail using natural surface tread. The work will include timber and rock steps, retaining walls, back walls, and crown fill.

Trail Maintenance of San Luis Valley Open Spaces

A $137,314 grant was awarded to San Luis Valley Great Outdoors. The Great Outdoors Action Team (GOATs) crew, in collaboration with other agencies, plans to maintain approximately 30 miles of trails on public lands. The work will include clearing felled trees, restoring trail braiding and widening, building boardwalk structures to help with flooding and protecting old-growth cottonwood habitat in Rio Grande, Alamosa, Saguache, Costilla counties.

Rito Seco Trail Expansion in Costilla County

A $33,000 planning grant was awarded for this expansion that serves to create more open space within Costilla County. The plan has identified the Rito Seco Park expansion as a trail development opportunity via the existing Overlook Trail. This new loop trail will have two access points for a total of four, including access from the Rito Seco Trailhead and the northern point of Rito Seco Park.  

Oil Well Flats in Fremont County

Fremont Adventure Recreation was awarded a $25,313 grant to fund maintenance of 7.5 miles of the 15 miles of trail located in Oil Well Flats. The trails are natural surface single-track multi-use trails that have not had intensive trail maintenance for over eight years. The work will include adding erosion control structures to steeper sections of trail and reconstructing the trail bench.

Wormhole Trail System in Las Animas County

A $6,350 grant was awarded to help with the planning process for the next phase of the Wormhole Loop Trail system. Planning outcomes include the design and flagging of an additional 2 miles of new trail (including a kid-friendly flow loop close to the trail head), design of new signage, a maintenance log for new and existing trails, and plans for wildfire mitigation.

Other projects around the state that received grants are:

Non-Motorized Trails Program

  • Trail Expansion at Ridgway Area Trails Network - Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association - $158,470
  • West Steamboat Trail - Phase 2 - City of Steamboat Springs - $250,000 
  • Partnership for Trail Stewardship 2024 - Wildlands Restoration Volunteers - Boulder, Summit, Park counties - $92,908
  • Larimer County Trail & Maintenance Support Crew - $72,625
  • RFMBA 2024 Seasonal Trail Crew Program - Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association -  Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield Counties - $55,000 
  • Meadow Creek Trail Maintenance - Eagle-Summit Wilderness Alliance - $65,661 
  • CDT Maintenance and Stewardship - Continental Divide Trail Coalition - multiple counties $48,343
  • 2024 GFO Non-Motorized Trail Crew - BLM Gunnison Field Office - $77,580
  • Wilder Bunch Stewardship Crew - The Nature Connection - Delta County - $75,000
  • Countywide Trail Maintenance Crew - Headwaters Trails Alliance - Grand County - $109,700
  • 2024 Crested Butte Conservation Corps - Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association $75,000
  • Trail Conservation Service - Colorado Mountain Bike Association - Jefferson, Park, Clear Creek, Douglas counties - $150,000
  • Trail Stewardship Crew Expansion - Mesa County Public Health - $78,406 
  • Fall River Trail - Final Design Town of Estes Park- $45,000
  • Camp Hale - Continental Divide NM Access Planning in Summit County - $43,575
  • Poudre River Trail - Narrows Planning & Design City of Greeley NAT - $45,000
  • Capacity, Training and Leaders - Wildlands Restoration Volunteers in Boulder - $45,000

Land and Water Conservation Fund

  • Beaver Ranch Park Inclusive Redevelopment - Jefferson County Open Space - $752,500
  • Mount Sanitas Trail Proiect - City of Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks - $1,125,994
  • Birch Park Project -  City of Rifle - $1,250,000
  • Schofield Farm Open Space -Town of Erie -$1,100,504
  • Diversifying Recreational Uses in Idaho Springs - $1,250,000.00