Lodge at STARS Ranch in Steamboat pegged for construction in late summer 2018 | SteamboatToday.com

Lodge at STARS Ranch in Steamboat pegged for construction in late summer 2018

A view of the ski slopes on Mount Werner from STARS Ranch just south of the southern city limits of Steamboat Springs, where late this summer the nonprofit, which provides recreational programming to people with disabilities, will begin construction on a new headquarters including 27 beds for destination campers.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With a new grant of $150,000 from the Daniels Fund in hand, Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports is looking ahead to the beginning of above-ground construction on the main lodge of STARS Ranch in late summer or early fall.

The ranch will serve as a destination camp where adaptive athletes can pursue recreation, Rocky Mountain style.

STARS Executive Director Julie Taulman said if all goes as planned, her organization will host its first campers in the new building in 2020.

"We got the roads, water tank and septic all put in last fall,” Taulman said. “Basically, we'll be coming out of the ground this summer. The target is for us to be in by July 2019 and starting to book for 2020."

The new lodge will initially provide space for 27 guest beds and staff offices with the potential to increase the bed count to 32. In the near future, STARS hopes to build a covered horseback riding center and ropes course on the 9-acre property. It is just outside the city of Steamboat Springs' southern limits, hidden behind trees off the west side of U.S. Highway 40.

Taulman said STARS Ranch will provide clients a place to heal, rejuvenate and reconnect while also challenging them to achieve their personal bests. Without a main lodge, STARS campers have been spread around in donated rental condos.

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"The STARS Ranch will provide a centralized hub for us to accommodate our locals programs, as well as camps and groups from out of town," Taulman said in a news release. "Currently, there is not a fully accessible facility in Steamboat able to accommodate full overnight camps in one location that allows for our clients to stay together. Part of the healing process is building connections with others in a group environment."

STARS is particularly active in adaptive skiing programs, which are based on Mount Werner with the cooperation of Steamboat Ski Area.

Taulman said STARS has raised $5.08 million against its goal of $6 million to help build the ranch. With one or two more grants and donations in the offing, the not-for-profit could be within $400,000 to $500,000 of reaching its goal, she said.

Late this winter, Taulman and her board of directors consulted with Mountain Architecture and general contractor HLCC to value-engineer the new building to ensure they are able cover the cost.

The new grant came from a fund established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels. It is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants and scholarship programs and ethics initiative.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.