Downvalley trail effort gaining momentum |

Downvalley trail effort gaining momentum

A trail effort in western Garfield County is gaining legs.

Lower Valley Trailway (LoVa) has obtained nonprofit status, and also hired its first staff member. Brian Brown, LoVa’s former board president, has been hired on a part-time basis as its executive director.

These new milestones for LoVa indicate an organization that has gone beyond dreaming and is headed toward doing. The group also obtained a $73,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant that funded a preliminary plan, and a $167,000 Colorado Department of Transportation grant to use as seed money for a trail from West Glenwood to South Canyon.

The group got its start partly out of a desire to address the lack of a route for cyclists through South Canyon, other than riding on Interstate 70. It also envisions a larger-scale trail system running through western Garfield County, providing recreational, tourism and nonmotorized commuting benefits.

The LoVa trails, when combined with the Glenwood Canyon bike path and other trails already built or also being planned, could help provide a nonmotorized route across much of western Colorado.

Give the LoVa group credit: It’s not falling victim to impatience. Rather, it expects its effort may take 40 to 50 years to reach full fruition.

That may be true. But as this trail effort, and others, gain momentum, things may move more quickly. The LoVa trail idea may captivate the public and politicians as other trails have, with the resources and rights of way subsequently falling into place.

Already, Rifle, Silt and New Castle have lined up behind the effort, and Garfield County has earmarked $30,000 in next year’s preliminary budget for LoVa.

Thanks to perseverance by LoVa members, the downvalley trail push is rolling, and headed down the right path.

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