New trail signs in Steamboat help guide the way

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View the city of Steamboat Springs' layered trail map here.

— A crop of signs has sprouted along trails in Steamboat Springs with the goal of making it easier for people to explore and use the city’s trail network.

“The city has all these trail easements, so let’s make sure people know they’re there,” said city engineer Janet Hruby, who helped manage the project this spring.

Signs at the beginning and end of the trails include information such as the elevation, grade and distance.

The trails also been have mapped digitally, and smartphone users can use their phone to scan QR codes placed on the signage, which will take users to an interactive online map. Additionally, the city nearly is finished with a map detailing the trails on Howelsen Hill. Hruby said there is no timeline or budget for the next phase of the signage project, which would focus on adding signs to the trails at Howelsen. In the meantime, new kiosk maps are being installed at the main Howelsen trailheads.

Hruby said the signage project largely was a citizen-led effort with backers that included the city of Steamboat, the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative, LiveWell Northwest Colorado and the Safe Routes to School program.

Phase 1 of the project was completed in the fall and included new signage and maps along the Yampa River Core Trail. The signs were designed and made using a $15,000 grant from LiveWell, a Colorado nonprofit organization that strives to promote healthy eating and active living.

The city committed to $45,000 for the latest signage and ended up spending about $40,000, Hruby said.

In addition to Howelsen signage, the groups involved want to coordinate the city’s trail systems and signage with other groups that have trails in the area, such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Steamboat Ski Area. The goal would be to make them all part of one intertwined trail system, Hruby said.

On the maps accessed via the Internet, the city has added layers to the map that soon will allow users to isolate the summer and winter trails, along with trail conditions.

Boxes at the top of the maps can be checked to turn on layers for Howelsen Hill summer trails. Layers for the ski area summer trails and trail conditions will be added soon.

Hruby said she hopes the new signage and maps will allow more children to walk or bike to school. A popular route for kids is what now has been designated the Blue Sage Trail, linking the upper part of Fish Creek Falls Road with Spring Creek Trail and Lower Spring Creek Trail behind Steamboat Springs High School.

The Rita’s Route trail now has been established through Rita Valentine Park. It links to the Fish Creek Trail below Hilltop Parkway. Numerous trails also have been marked in the mountain area.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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