As trail building activities heat up around Steamboat, council asks ‘what about the Core Trail?’ | SteamboatToday.com

As trail building activities heat up around Steamboat, council asks ‘what about the Core Trail?’

The quickly disappearing colors of fall provide a colorful backdrop for cyclist Willy Markowitz as he makes his way along the Yampa River Core Trail

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As U.S. Forest Service officials start using city lodging tax dollars to study the feasibility of adding several more new trails in the mountains around Steamboat Springs, some of the city's elected officials want to see some more trail-building attention closer to home.

""How much of that is going to be for mom, dad and the three kids?" Councilwoman Robin Crossan asked Tuesday as the plans for new trails spanning from Rabbit Ears Pass to the Mad Creek area were discussed. "Who are we building these trails for?"

Crossan suggested areas closer to town, such as Strawberry Park and the Yampa River Core Trail, are frequented by tourists and families and needed some attention from the lodging tax dollars too.

Council President Walter Magill expressed disappointment that the lodging tax dollars could not fund an extension of the Yampa River Core Trail because that possibility was not included in the binder of trail projects voters approved to receive the funding in 2013.

"I understand the need for a core trail extension, but these funds can't go to that trail, so that's a disappointment," Magill said.

A committee that has been recommending which trails should be funded by the annual lodging tax allocation pushed back a bit when faced with questions about how many of the new trails were being built for beginners.

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They also did not have any concern that half of the trails built so far with the lodging tax money are outside of the city limits.

Committee member Dan Bonner said the group was trying to build trails for both the 30-something-year-olds who are looking for more advanced trails as well as the families that are coming to town looking for an easier ride or hike.

The council also learned that some of the recently completed trails on Buffalo Pass are not technical and have beginner mountain bikers and hikers in mind.

Maintenance concerns

Whether many of the proposed trails in the National Forest ever get built might depend on whether community members in Northwest Colorado are willing to open their wallets to help maintain them.

Councilman Scott Ford said the city should put in a "governing throttle" on the trail projects if a new endowment fund created to pay for trail maintenance doesn't garner enough donations.

"I don't want our trails to outrun our ability to pay for these trails with the endowment," Ford said.

Government programs manager Winnie DelliQuadri said the endowment fund is currently on pace to meet the fundraising goals for the first two years.

The endowment fund is currently approaching $200,000 in donations.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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