Funding would benefit trails

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— The town of Hayden could get some money to improve its local parks or construct future trails if the Yampa Valley area receives a second round of funding from the state for preservation and conservation projects.

The state board for the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund awards grants to projects of regional or statewide importance that help Coloradans to improve and better appreciate their trails, rivers, open space, wildlife and parks.

The Legacy Initiative has granted more than $118.3 million to 19 Legacy projects, including the Yampa Valley River Legacy Initiative.

Those funds paid for conservation easements, open space, trail construction, species recovery and habitat protection in the Yampa Valley.

But little of that funding still remains.

Officials from the city of Steamboat Springs would like to try for a second Legacy Initiative.

Along with several other municipalities, nonprofit conservation organizations, private businesses and state agencies, the town of Hayden has been asked for its interest in participating in a future Legacy committee.

A concept paper describing the project must be submitted by March 18 to GOCo.

Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel, who sits on the Legacy committee, said he lobbied for some of the money for Hayden's Dry Creek Trail, which should be completed by this year.

The committee's bylaws, however, stated funds directed toward the initiative could benefit only Yampa River projects not their tributaries.

As a tributary of the Yampa River, Dry Creek cannot be funded by Legacy money.

If approved, a second round of funding from GOCo. could benefit Hayden.

Straebel said the town could use the funding for such projects as restoration of vegetation along Dry Creek and the construction of a small park on the river.

Placing native trees and bushes along the creek, Straebel said, could promote wildlife and habitat in the area, including several species of rare birds.

The town's Chamber of Commerce promotes bird watching as a way to bring in visitors.

Interpretative sites that offer readers some information about the wildlife and vegetation could also be placed along the river, he said.

However, the concept of the project still remains in the early stages, said Linda Kakela, director of intergovernmental services for the city of Steamboat Springs.

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