Cyclists try to find funds for upkeep of trail that connects Routt County neighborhoods to west Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Cyclists try to find funds for upkeep of trail that connects Routt County neighborhoods to west Steamboat

Bryan DeLong rides his mountain bike along the new West Connector Trail, which links the western city limits to the subdivisions of Silver Spur, Heritage Park and Steamboat II. The 1.5 mile trail was made possible thanks to a temporary easement from private property owners and is completely on private land. The county said it is vital for users to stay on the trail and keep their dogs on leashes in the area in order to keep the trail open in the future. The new trail provides an alternative for hikers and bikers who may want to walk to town, but don't want to brave the shoulder of U.S. Highway 40.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cycling advocates are trying to find the dollars they would need to give some TLC to a deteriorating trail that Routt County residents use to travel into west Steamboat Springs.

But because the trail, which crosses three pieces of private property on county land, has a temporary status and could become a private path at any time, county officials say they won't foot the bill for any trail maintenance.

Routt County Riders member Walter Magill, who approached the county commissioners last month to seek funding for the trail, said the path needs some attention.

"I've heard it's difficult to pass in the spring," he said.

With some work and an investment of less than $50,000, Magill predicted the trail could serve as a year-round bicycle transportation corridor.

The trail is also used in the winter by people walking dogs.

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Magill said he wasn't surprised the county couldn't supply funding.

He added Routt County Riders has been discussing private fundraising opportunities for trail maintenance.

Routt County Commissioner Cari Hermacinski said she'd be open to allowing maintenance to occur on the trail if funds were raised privately.

Commissioner Tim Corrigan said to call the trail an easement is "probably too strong of a term" and the county could be told at any moment to take out the trail.

The West Steamboat Connector Trail became a reality in 2015 when three private property owners allowed the county to create a public dirt trail connecting Routt County Road 42 on the west to Gloria Gossard Parkway and the West Acres and West End Village neighborhoods on the east.

The trail's future will be influenced by any development that occurs on the former Steamboat 700 parcel and the Overlook parcel.

Magill said the hope is to find some funding so that it can be better maintained when the snow melts in the spring.

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