Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded $114,000 to help build an interpretive boardwalk at Rotary River Park.
The grant was awarded to the city of Steamboat Springs as local government sponsor for the Rotary Club's boardwalk project. The boardwalk will open 7 acres of wetlands to nature enthusiasts, anglers and Yampa River Core Trail users. Rotary River Park is on the east side of the city near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Mount Werner Road.
"The GOCo grant is the difference between doing it the way we wanted to and having to scale it back," said Chan Coyle, boardwalk project manager. "We wanted to do something big and significant, not just a couple of benches along the river."
Rotarians undertook the boardwalk as their centennial project, one of more than 31,000 projects Rotary clubs around the world are undertaking in their communities to celebrate the international service organization's 100-year anniversary. Steamboat Springs' boardwalk is targeted for completion by the end of next summer, Coyle said.
"I think it'll be amazing," said Winnie DelliQuadri, the city grants analyst who helped write the winning GOCo grant. She said the city provides financial oversight for the GOCo grant, but the Rotary Club is doing the project management. "It's a really impressive undertaking," DelliQuadri said.
The boardwalk will connect to the Core Trail. It will be 1 to 2 feet above ground and will wind through the wetlands area. Nature interpretation signs in English and Spanish will be installed along the boardwalk, as will benches and three handicap-accessible fishing sites.
Yampatika is creating interpretive signage for wildlife and habitat along the trail. The nonprofit environmental education group will consult with the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife in the process, Executive Director Deb Fuller said.
"The beauty of the boardwalk is it's ADA accessible and it has neat ecosystems," Fuller said.
The effort will kick off a larger educational project that is scheduled to place 12 more interpretive signs along the Core Trail over the next couple of years, she said.
Mike Neumann, open space supervisor for the city, said the boardwalk is a great opportunity for a more formal educational setup along the trail.
"This will give a new dimension to the open space program," Neumann said.