Garfield County awards first quarter discretionary grants; trail funding requests on hold |

Garfield County awards first quarter discretionary grants; trail funding requests on hold

Garfield County commissioners recently approved $26,500 in first quarter 2022 discretionary grants for local nonprofits, but two requests for funding to build new single-track trails in the area are on hold.

The Board of County Commissioners on Feb. 22 awarded discretionary grant requests to seven local nonprofits from throughout the area.

Those include:

  • $5,000 for KSUN Community Radio to help cover costs of programming and equipment;
  • $3,000 for West Elk Trails to support winter program expenses;
  • $1,000 for New Castle Trails as sponsorship for its annual fundraising event, Rides and Reggae;
  • $5,000 for Roaring Fork Leadership to help cover program expenses and scholarships;
  • $2,500 for the GlenX Career Expo to go toward its 2022 spring career fair event at Glenwood Springs High School (separate funding to be considered for the fall event at Rifle High School);
  • $5,000 for Youthentity career development, financial literacy workshops, and more for area high school youth; and,
  • $5,000 for Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers for trail-building and weed-mitigation projects in and around the Hanging Lake Trail, Mitchell Creek, East Elk Creek, the Silt Island Park, Grand Hogback Trail and Dry Rifle Creek.

The board also approved a $20,000 grant to Carbondale-based Coventure to support its economic resiliency efforts countywide. That funding, which was already in the county budget, comes from a portion of the general fund that’s set aside for nonprofit organization programs.

Two separate requests for $10,000 from the county’s Conservation Trust Fund to support construction of new mountain biking and multi-use trails in South Canyon near Glenwood Springs and on Burning Mountain in New Castle are on hold, however.

In a followup discussion at Monday’s commissioners meeting, South Canyon resident Tye Richardson expressed concerns about the impact of expanding the trail system on elk populations. He asked that the county postpone the grant request until the city of Glenwood Springs completes a broader master plan for city-owned land in South Canyon.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith said the master-planning process is unlikely to be completed until 2023. The bike park that’s planned in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association was already envisioned as part of the separate bike trail network master plan. That included a wildlife impact analysis, Smith said.

Commissioners asked that the funding request be postponed until the South Canyon master plan is completed.

Similar concerns have been raised with the Burning Mountain trail plan, Commissioner Mike Samson said.

“I think we need to take a step back,” Samson said. “The master plan needs to be completed before we proceed. There are some valid points we need to consider whenever we’re approached about putting more money into trails.”

Commissioners also asked that any Conservation Trust Fund requests in the future include the participating municipality or other local government organization. In the case of the Burning Mountain request, that would need to involve the town of New Castle, County Manager Kevin Batchelder advised.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said he’s inclined to support the grant requests, but deferred to Samson’s and fellow Commissioner John Martin’s concerns.

“I don’t think the (South Canyon) master plan will change anything … but we can wait,” he said.

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

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