Fish Creek Falls trail is first beneficiary of new endowment fund | SteamboatToday.com

Fish Creek Falls trail is first beneficiary of new endowment fund

A group of hikers goes up the Fish Creek Falls trail on Wednesday.

— It hasn't even turned one yet, but the new Trails Maintenance Endowment Fund in Steamboat Springs is already nearing six figures and paying for trail improvements.

The Fish Creek Falls trail will be the first beneficiary of the endowment fund.

The U.S. Forest Service will use a $2,303 grant to perform erosion control, shore up retaining walls and stabilize the steep part of the trail that starts just past the iconic bridge at the base of the waterfall.

According to the Forest Service, the trail sees more than 20,000 users each year.

The Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund was set up last year in late November as a way to help pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the growing roster of area trails.

As of Monday, the fund had a balance of $96,193, just shy of the $100,000 promoters of the fund are hoping to get this year.

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Winnie DelliQuadri, assistant to City Manager Gary Suiter, said organizers of the fund are very pleased with the early fundraising efforts.

"For that fund to be spinning off money after just a couple of months is really impressive, and it's just this great harbinger of really cool things to come," DelliQuadri said.

Founders of the endowment fund are ultimately hoping to raise between $1 million and $1.5 million in the next nine years.

If that goal is reached, the earnings from fund could be used to pay for at least $60,000 of trail maintenance each year.

The endowment fund’s success could also help to prevent local land managers such as the Forest Service from imposing any additional user fees to cover the cost of trail maintenance.

Applications for endowment fund grants are submitted in September.

A seven-member board that consists of local land managers, two community members and a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association representative evaluate the requests and choose a winning project.

The endowment fund is held by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and supports non-motorized trail maintenance projects in Routt and Moffat counties.

To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit YVCF.org/trails.

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

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