Carbondale-to-Crested-Butte Trail grant expected | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale-to-Crested-Butte Trail grant expected

Pitkin County open space officials are confident the state will award a $100,000 grant later this week that will allow them to begin planning the long-discussed Carbondale-to-Crested Butte Trail.

That's according to Gary Tennenbaum, executive director of the Open Space and Trails program, who told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday that the board of Great Outdoors Colorado will meet Thursday to determine what projects will receive grants.

"It seems like a go for $100,000 from GOCO," Tennenbaum said.

Open space officials initially applied for a $200,000 grant, but Tennenbaum said it looks more likely that $100,000 will be awarded. Great Outdoors Colorado is an independent organization that invests a portion of proceeds from the Colorado lottery into the state's parks, trails and outdoor amenities, according to the group's website.

When officials applied for the grant in September, commissioners passed a resolution supporting the application and vowing to match it with $200,000 from the county's open space fund. While a memo from Tennenbaum to commissioners notes that matching funds have been budgeted for 2017, it does not specify how much the match will be. Tennenbaum did not return a message Tuesday seeking clarification.

Provided Great Outdoors Colorado awards the funds Thursday, open space officials will begin the planning process in January, most likely at an open house in Redstone, said Lindsey Utter, the open space program's planning and outreach manager. Another open house will be held in Carbondale in January, according to a memo to commissioners from Utter and Tennenbaum.

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After similar open houses in Crested Butte, officials will digest public comments and come up with preferred routes for each segment of the trail, the memo states. After that, officials will send out a request for proposals from environmental analysis and engineering consultants, Utter said.

The environmental analysis will be conducted jointly on both sides of McClure Pass in early 2018, she said.

The trail has been under discussion since 1994 and has been partially completed in both Pitkin and Gunnison counties.

Pitkin County completed a 5-mile section of the trail from Carbondale to the BRB Campground on Highway 133 in 2008. That portion of trail also connects to the Rio Grande Trail, which runs between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

On the Gunnison County side, a trail has been completed from Crested Butte to Lake Irwin. Also, a trail from the top of McClure Pass to the bottom on the Gunnison County side is built and open, Utter said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper chose the 74-mile trail between Carbondale and Crested Butte earlier this year as one of 16 statewide trails he wants to see built.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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