South Canyon trails effort seeks grant funding
Glenwood Springs is kicking in another $30,000 toward eventual construction of a bike trail system in South Canyon and supporting a larger state grant effort.
At the same time, there’s some new thinking for the Lower Valley (LoVa) trail alignment along the Colorado River to access the area from West Glenwood.
City Council last week agreed to provide matching funds if the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association is successful in obtaining a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Trails Program grant for the trails effort.
As envisioned in the RFMBA’s broader soft trails master plan for the Glenwood Springs area, a trail system would be designed and built on a combination of city-owned property and lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management in the South Canyon area below the city landfill.
“We are confident that having identified and studied the various opportunities and constraints associated with creating trails in this location, the proposed trails system has been wisely and professionally designed,” the city’s letter of support for the state grant reads.
“This trail system will benefit our community’s overall health and wellness,” the letter goes on to state. “This investment will also result in increased visitation and tourism for Glenwood Springs. Both are key reasons for our support of this project.”
Mike Pritchard, executive director for the RFMBA, said at a recent council meeting that the state grant presents the best opportunity for work to get started next year on the South Canyon trails.
As envisioned in the master plan, the trail system could eventually tie in to the Red Mountain bike trails system, creating a loop back into Glenwood Springs. The larger plan could include future trails on Lookout Mountain to the east of town and on Iron Mountain on the north side of town.
Meanwhile, the city along with the LoVa Trails Group are awaiting word on a Great Outdoors Colorado Connect Initiative planning grant to continue work to complete a missing link between two short paved bike path sections of the LoVa trail between West Glenwood and South Canyon.
Recently, engineers have begun exploring a potential new route crossing over the Colorado River to the city’s Chatfield property and possibly skirting the ridge above the Union Pacific Railroad out to South Canyon. The current alignment between the river and Interstate 70 connecting the two dead-end sections has proven costly to engineer and construct, and the state grant may help trail planners examine alternatives.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.