Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund launches $10,000 matching challenge | SteamboatToday.com

Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund launches $10,000 matching challenge

Proceeds from the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund were used to make improvements to the Fish Creek Falls trail.

A new tactic is being deployed to raise money to maintain the millions of dollars worth of new trails being built in Steamboat Springs.

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation manages the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund to support the trails built with lodging tax dollars in perpetuity.

Helen Beall, who manages marketing for the foundation, said that, so far, about $150,000 has been raised.

The goal is to grow the fund to between $1 million and $1.5 million in 10 years.

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

"It definitely has picked up a lot this summer," Beall said. "It's been exciting to see the donations roll in."

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Beginning Tuesday, the foundation is rolling out a $10,000 matching challenge for the month of August.

It is a strategy used by many nonprofits, such as National Public Radio, to encourage giving.

"We had people say 'We want to do this, so we can encourage others to give to the fund,'" Beall said.

The $10,000 comes from the Jeff and Alissa Merage Family Fund and is managed by the foundation.

Donations during the month of August will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the family's donation.

Beall said $10,000 in donations needs to be raised during August for the Merage family's match to go into the fund.

"But I am going to make sure that happens," she said.

Beall said she is working with local bike shops, as well as Steamboat's bike ambassadors, patrolling the trails to get the word out about the matching challenge.

"Really, it's a grassroots effort, and it's about people talking about it," Beall said.

Details about donating to the fund can be found at yvcf.org/trails.

The foundation plans to have another matching challenge in September that will focus on small donations of $50 or less.

Details of the September challenge are still being finalized.

"It will be a fun locals challenge and will encourage locals to try new trails," Beall said.

The Fish Creek Falls trail was the first trail to benefit from the endowment fund, which was established in November 2015.

A $2,303 grant was awarded to the U.S. Forest Service 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.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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