Ken Brenner: Our No. 1 resource

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Friends of the Yampa welcomes everyone who has an interest in the Yampa River to join us from 6 to 7:30 p.m. today in Library Hall to present recommendations for a new Great Outdoors Colorado grant opportunity for “river-based recreation and open space.”

Last month, GOCo announced that it is offering between $14 million and $18 million this fiscal year to Colorado communities through a special, one-time opportunity. This is the first time in almost 20 years that GOCo has targeted large-scale, river-based recreation amenities. That is why there is a sense of urgency to capture this great opportunity.

Past Steamboat Springs city councils have done a lot of work needed to make Steamboat Springs and the Yampa River especially eligible for this grant. For instance, the city has purchased land along the river corridor from the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area to Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park. The City Council funded the Yampa River Master Plan, adopted in 2003 after years of public meetings, to reflect the community’s priorities. The same process was used to complete the Yampa River Structures Master Plan, adopted in 2008. And this year, Friends of the Yampa has raised $100,000 to implement the first phase of the plan.

GOCo’s criteria for this grant cycle include that the project be large-scale and of regional or statewide significance. It also needs to be accomplished within three years. That’s Steamboat.

GOCo also wants to see a project that ensures public access to river-based recreation opportunities and improves the fishing habitat, riparian habitat, formal access points and the overall health of the river. Steamboat’s downtown river area is the center of activity in the summer and the cornerstone of our outdoor recreation economy.

This is why Friends of the Yampa is so excited by this once-in-a-generation chance to realize all of the planning and investments that have been put forward in the past toward the Yampa River. Please join us today to hear our thoughts and share your own as we move forward with plans regarding our most valuable natural resource, the Yampa River.

Ken Brenner

Friends of the Yampa

Steamboat Springs

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