Steamboat nets $2.4M in Yampa River grant

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— Conservation and public access along the Yampa River near Steamboat Springs already has benefited greatly through Colorado Lottery proceeds administered through Great Outdoors Colorado, and on Tuesday, the news arrived that another $2.4 million grant is on the way.

Steamboat Springs and the Yampa River System Legacy Project are among just two mountain communities among eight to be awarded portions of $29.5 million in funding announced this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper under the River Corridor Initiative Grants.

On the Yampa River, the grant will be used to help secure a conservation easement that also will add trail links and a public fishing area just south of the city limits, according to a news release from GOCo. And just downstream from the city, the lottery proceeds will formalize access improvements to a piece of public land straddling the river between Snow Bowl and the KOA campground.

The grant application was co-sponsored by the Yampa Valley Land Trust and the city of Steamboat Springs.

“The Land Trust has a phenomenal project on the river,” city Government Programs Manager Winnie DelliQuadri said.

According to GOCo, the Land Trust will work with the landowner to place a conservation easement on a private parcel that is bisected by the river. In addition to protecting wildlife habitat, the easement will provide for specific opportunities for public access, including a trail connector that will link existing public lands, as well as a structured fishing lease.

The city will use a portion of the grant monies to formalize a legal driveway access from U.S. Highway 40 into the Fournier open space just west of Snow Bowl. It will feature a paved driveway and fenced parking lot that will provide access for kayakers and fishing boats, but not tubers, DelliQuadri said. In addition to picnic tables, the land will be re-vegetated with native grasses. The Fournier open space includes land on both sides of the river.

The work on the Yampa will be fortified by $150,000 in federal funds received from the Bureau of Land Management through the America’s Great Outdoors program, DelliQuadri added. And there will be enough money to carry out some of the erosion control and improved access points in the downtown stretch of the Yampa.

The Friends of the Yampa group will contribute labor to the downtown improvements.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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