Jackson Creagan uses the trail that passes through Butcherknife Canyon on his way home from Strawberry Park on June 7 during the final week of school. School children will get a helping hand when they head back to school next fall from the Safe Routes to School map, released June 6 at the Routt County Riders meeting. The map is the culmination of three years of work that helps children identify the safest way to get to and from school.

Photo by John F. Russell

Jackson Creagan uses the trail that passes through Butcherknife Canyon on his way home from Strawberry Park on June 7 during the final week of school. School children will get a helping hand when they head back to school next fall from the Safe Routes to School map, released June 6 at the Routt County Riders meeting. The map is the culmination of three years of work that helps children identify the safest way to get to and from school.

Safe routes to school map given to Steamboat Springs students

The product of 3 years of work, the handout shows students how to get around town safely

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Charlie Beurskens (walking) and Finn O'Connell commute home from Steamboat Springs Middle School using the trail that passes through Butcherknife Canyon June 7 during the final week of school . School children will get a helping hand when they head back to school next fall after the Safe Routes to School map was released June 6 at the Routt County Riders meeting. The map is the culmination of three years of work, from developing the concept, securing the grant funding and completing the map, which helps children identify the safest way to get to and from school.

— Nearly three years of work culminated last week with the completion of the Safe Routes to School map.

The maps, which were paid for by a Colorado Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant, illustrate the safest way Steamboat Springs students in kindergarten to eighth grade can get from their homes to school and other locations across Steamboat.

They were distributed at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools and Steamboat Springs Middle School before school ended last week. The maps also are available at local bike shops.

“If we want kids to ride or walk to school, we need every kind of education tool and safety tool that we can get,” Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said. “And parents and kids then can use this at home or when they’re out riding. It can really, I think, be helpful for both the kids and parents. It can also give us a sense, this summer and into the fall, what we’re missing.”

Mitsch Bush is a member of a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association committee that identified the map project after it was formed in December 2008. She said the Transportation Solutions Group applied for the grant in late 2009 and was awarded $16,500, which it received in August 2010.

A majority of the funding paid for the map, which was designed by Steamboat-based Creative Bearings, and a portion went to educational bike rallies held in fall at the elementary schools.

Paige Boucher, who has led the Safe Routes to School Committee, started Hike and Bike to School days in 2004 at Strawberry Park to promote exercise while getting cars off the road.

She said getting the map was important.

“If we make the roads safe for the kids, they’re safe for everybody,” she said.

In addition to linking neighborhoods with the Yampa River Core Trail to get youths to school and other locations in Steamboat, such as Bud Werner Memorial Library, the maps also include educational information. There are tips about safe walking and biking and a list of resources.

An interactive map is at www.saferoutessteamboat.org.

“It really feels great to have worked together for so long and to actually have it done in a way that looks great and I think will work well for parents and kids,” Mitsch Bush said.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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