Cardiff coke ovens, Hanging Lake trail funding OK’d by Garfield County commissioners |

Cardiff coke ovens, Hanging Lake trail funding OK’d by Garfield County commissioners

Separate efforts to preserve a bit of Glenwood Springs history and rebuild the trail to a popular Glenwood Canyon destination got funding boosts from the Garfield County commissioners Monday.

The Board of County Commissioners OK’d $50,000 from the county’s Conservation Trust Fund to help clean up recent vandalism and preserve the history of the Cardiff coke ovens.

In addition, the board agreed to $5,000 in final discretionary grant funding for the year to assist Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers for its part in rebuilding the Hanging Lake trail that was destroyed by flash flooding over the summer.

The Glenwood Springs Historical Society grant will be passed through the city of Glenwood Springs, which is also providing $50,000 to preserve the site.

The Cardiff Coke Ovens are located in south Glenwood Springs near the Airport.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

It’s part of a larger request to combine local grants and a possible National Park Service Save America’s Treasures grant of up to $500,000 for a variety of projects to improve the local historical site, Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight said.

Recently, the inside of one of the series of brick ovens near the Glenwood Springs Airport used in the late 1800s and early 1900s to turn coal into coke for steel mills was defaced with graffiti. Earlier this year, a sign marking the site was also removed, Kight said.

Graffiti found inside one of the 50 Cardiff coke ovens located in south Glenwood Springs near the airport.
Provided/Glenwood Springs Historical Society

The grant money is to be used to clean up the vandalism, clear some of the oak brush that surrounds the site and build a lighted parking area with signage to explain the historical significance of the site, he said.

Cardiff was a bustling rail stop just south of Glenwood Springs, built in support of the coal mines at Sunlight up the nearby Four Mile Creek valley.

“This effort is not just to honor that history but the men and women who accomplished many things that we enjoy today,” Kight said.

County commissioners were unanimously in favor of the grant.

“I would like to see the project completely done, and not spend these dollars to clean up more vandalism in the future,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.

“It’s important to make it an asset where people can go and spend some time learning about what happened out there,” he said.

Trail-building funds approved

Bridge number one on the Hanging Lake Trail is covered in mud and heavily damaged from debris flows after recent flash flooding in Glenwood Canyon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Commissioners on Monday also unanimously approved a $5,000 grant to support Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) for its part in rebuilding the Hanging Lake trail next summer.

RFOV Communications and Community Engagement Director Jacob Baker said the scope of the project, which is being done in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, is beyond the scope of RFOV’s volunteer corps.

“The Hanging Lake work will be very technical, difficult and arduous,” he said.

For that reason, the money will be used to make use of RFOV’s professional trail-building crew to help the Forest Service as needed.

The work is to be spread over two years, Baker said, and will likely necessitate a followup county grant proposal for 2023.

The trail to the iconic lake feature was heavily damaged during the record rainfalls in late July and August that brought down mud and debris from the unstable slopes left by the 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar. The flooding also caused extensive damage to Interstate 70, which had to be closed for two weeks.

A grant from the National Forest Foundation, a grant from the city of Glenwood Springs and donations given through local fundraising aimed at restoration in Glenwood Canyon, including Hanging Lake, are being used to fund the rebuilding and flood mitigation efforts.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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