Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the state’s highest priority trail projects as part of Colorado the Beautiful’s “16 in 2016” initiative highlighted in his State of the State address last week. Ring the Peak Trail, a collaborative project with the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Friends of the Peak, the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County and other local governments.
The projects represent the state’s 16 most important trail gaps, missing trail segments and unbuilt trails, and reach from the Front Range to southwestern Colorado. Identification of these 16 trails is designed to build upon strong existing support and partnerships to push them to completion.
“We’ve identified projects that will help us fulfill the vision of Colorado the Beautiful, and create the kinds of connections that link us to the natural splendor that sets our state apart,” Hickenlooper said. “We need the kind of outdoor access that more easily brings all of us – especially our young people – into the fresh air and away from indoor distractions. Getting more Coloradans outdoors more often is good for our health and a refreshing reminder of how fortunate we are to live in Colorado.”
While no new state dollars are tied to these projects, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) is investing $30 million in trails over the next four years as part of its Connect Initiative that will improve walkable and bikeable paths and trails for projects across the state. This special initiative is part of GOCO’s new five-year strategic plan to protect land for people and wildlife, connect people to trails and other outdoor opportunities, and inspire kids to get outside more often. GOCO has dedicated the first $10 million of funding for Connect in 2016; these 16 priority projects, along with other qualifying projects, are eligible to apply for funding. Additional trails funding is available to eligible entities through other competitive sources, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Department of Transportation.
A list of the 16 trail projects identified in the “16 in 2016” initiative is available on the Colorado the Beautiful page of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources website. The list includes a brief summary of each proposal and a map locating each project.