Lottery proceeds awarded for Routt County projects
December 11, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Colorado Lottery proceeds will be used to work on Steamboat Springs trails and protect a piece of agricultural land from future development.
This week, Great Outdoors Colorado announced $5 million in grants that will be used in 16 Colorado counties to preserve open space and employ youths to work on trail projects. Routt County projects received $634,400.
At the Flying Diamond Ranch along Colorado Highway 131 between Steamboat and Oak Creek, a $615,500 grant will be used to create a conservation easement on 293 acres. The easement will be held by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Along with previous easements, about 2,200 acres of the ranch's 3,000 acres now are protected permanently from development.
"Most of the land that we conserve is right along the highway," said John Adams, whose family owns Flying Diamond Ranch. "That whole view corridor is going to be conserved."
Adams said he donated 66 percent of the value of the land to create the new easement. He did comparable donations with the previous easements.
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Adams said his family has chosen to seek the easements because his family has a desire to preserve the land. He said proceeds from the easements also make it economically possible for the family to continue ranching on the land.
"As a lot of people know, you don't make a lot off ranching in Routt County," Adams said.
The Adams family has owned the ranch since 1978. Adams said there are records of the ranch being homesteaded in 1895. Today, they run between 250 and 300 cattle and produce about 500 tons of hay each year.
The city of Steamboat Springs was the recipient of the other GOCo grant funds.
The $37,500 will employ youths between ages 14 and 16 as part of the city's Community Youth Corps program.
Steamboat Government Programs Manager Winnie DelliQuadri said the youths will spend two weeks working on the Spring Creek Trail. Most of the work will take place by the second bridge below where the trail goes onto U.S. Forest Service land.
"There was flooding, and there has been a lot of erosion," DelliQuadri said.
The youths also will spend a week working on a new downhill-only trail that will be built next summer on Emerald Mountain. The new trail will be built using lodging tax revenues between Blackmer Drive and the property line for Emerald Mountain Park.
DelliQuadri said the Community Youth Corps members will be tasked with doing the finishing work on the trail surface.
"We think that will be really fun for them," DelliQuadri said. "It's always exciting to work on a new trail, and we think a lot of the kids will be riding it and take ownership of it."