Lodging tax committee creates prioritized list of 46 trail projects | SteamboatToday.com

Lodging tax committee creates prioritized list of 46 trail projects

Katie Smith runs along the rough trail of the Spring Creek Memorial 9-mile race in 2009. The Steamboat Springs Running Series event returns Saturday.

— Several dreams of trail designers and hiking and biking enthusiasts in Steamboat Springs now are one step closer to becoming reality.

After months of meetings and diving deep into trail proposals, the committee advising the city on how to best spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on trails has completed its prioritized list of the 46 possible projects that are eligible to receive the lodging tax funding.

Dirt will start moving this summer.

Projects that are most likely to be funded this year include an improved trailhead and parking area on the west side of Emerald Mountain, a new trail connection at Spring Creek, the construction of two trails on Emerald and the addition of better pedestrian crosswalks at busy intersections within the city limits.

After that, the top tier of the list includes directional trails on Emerald and Howelsen and an overhaul of unauthorized trails on Buffalo Pass.

In the middle are a wide range of projects ranging from new directional trails on Rabbit Ears Pass to a loop trail in Strawberry Park.

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And at the bottom are projects like a beginner pump track at Stehley Park and a Yampa River Core Trail extension south to the Legacy Ranch.

Which of these projects get funded during the next decade still is very much in flux.

“We’re leaving a map for whoever ends up taking our places,” committee chairman Scott Marr said.

The list is something the committee and future committee members will take up each year to budget for trail projects.

While proposed trails on U.S. Forest Service land still are years away from being shovel ready, the committee took an important step Wednesday to make sure they could happen.

The committee voted to give the Forest Service $50,000 to start a master planning process for the wide portfolio of trails.

The trails committee will meet again May 28 to decide which trail projects to pull the trigger on this summer.

Trail projects in and around Steamboat Springs are projected to receive $300,000 of lodging tax funding each year through 2016, and then $600,000 each year through 2023.

The funding, which is generated by tourist stays in Steamboat, was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

What type of trail projects do you see as the highest priority? Leave a comment below.

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

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