Anonymous donor wants naming rights for Red Hill trail near Carbondale |

Anonymous donor wants naming rights for Red Hill trail near Carbondale

John Colson

CARBONDALE — An anonymous donor reportedly has shown interest in donating up to $200,000 toward the cost of the Red Hill Trail project near here, in return for naming rights for the completed trail, according to statements from the Garfield County government and a local land trust.

The donors, who have asked that the family’s name not be released publicly at this point, are the children of a prominent valley resident who recently died, according to Martha Cochran, director of the Aspen Valley Land Trust, and the trail would be named after the departed parent.

Cochran said the children, who are middle aged, have not decided yet whether this particular project or some other is the appropriate way to honor their departed parent.

The possibility of the donation was announced on Monday by Garfield County Senior Planner Tamra Allen.

“We’ve been working on this Red Hill thing for quite a while,” added Cochran, referring to the organization’s efforts to engineer a land swap that would bring more private land in the Red Hill area into public hands, as well as work on the Red Hill Trail project.

She said she knew of the family’s interest in donating funds to a community facility or cause, and mentioned the Red Hill project to them recently, and the family reacted with interest.

“It’s a family you would know,” Cochran said. “It’s someone very respectable.”

Although the family is still mulling its options, Cochran predicted the family will be more than happy to let their intentions be known once they make a decision.

“They’ll be completely proud of it, if this is what they want to do,” she said.

That project, formally known as the Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), is still in the planning stages, and is estimated to carry a price tag of $3.4 million for several phases, starting with:

• Construction of a safer trail beside County Road 107, from the intersection of Highways 133 and 82 approximately 1,400 feet up the road to the Red Hill SRMA trail head;

• Expansion and improvement of an existing cattle tunnel underneath Highway 82 near the intersection, or perhaps digging a new tunnel to carry cyclists and pedestrians back and forth across the busy highway, linked to construction of a new cycling/pedestrian bridge over the Roaring Fork River to a public trail on the south riverbank;

• And connection of the new trail and bridge with existing trails leading either to Carbondale proper or to the Gateway Park camping and recreational property on the other side of the intersection from the pedestrian bridge site.

Funding for the project, either in phases or all at once, is to come from a combination of money from Garfield County, the town of Carbondale and Great Outdoors Colorado, a state agency that uses part of the proceeds from the Colorado Lottery to provide money for parks, recreation, wildlife and land conservation efforts around the state.

Cochran said she planned to speak with the family soon to see if they want to move ahead with the Red Hill donation, or seek another recipient.

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