Grant awarded to look at improved Red Hill access |

Grant awarded to look at improved Red Hill access

The town of Carbondale, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, has been awarded a $160,000 federal grant to explore alternatives for improving access to the popular BLM Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area.

Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel applied for the grant last year through the Federal Transit Administration’s Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program, according to a BLM press release sent out Tuesday. The BLM, which manages the Red Hill area, is the sponsoring federal agency.

Red Hill is a popular hiking and mountain biking area just north of Carbondale, attracting around 55,000 visitors each year. However, vehicle parking is limited and at capacity most days, and access to the area from Carbondale by foot or bike requires crossing six lanes of traffic on Highway 82 at the controlled County Road 107 intersection.

Getting to the trailhead from the parking lot also involves a walk or bike up the relatively narrow county road, which is also heavily traveled by residents of the area.

The grant will fund a feasibility study looking at six alternatives for access across Highway 82 to Red Hill, including a possible underpass or overpass for hikers and mountain bikers to use. A trail connection from the parking lot to the main trailhead will also be considered.

In addition to the town and the BLM, the study will also involve the Red Hill Council, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Garfield County and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The study is expected to begin by this summer.

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