The Colorado State Recreational Trails Program launched the 2011 Non-Motorized State Trails Grant cycle on August 1, 2011. Applicants from non-profit organizations, and local, state and federal agencies may apply for funding for Recreational Trail Large or Small Construction or Maintnenace and Planning and Trail Support Grants. Grant funds come from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Colorado Lottery, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the FHWA Recreational Trails Program.
These grants are one tool for creating and maintaining a statewide network of trails that embrace and further all recreation opportunities.
State Trails Mapping Project
The State Trails Program has some very exciting news we'd like to share with you regarding the progress we have made with the State Trails Mapping Project.
Colorado has tremendous natural resources and a very large constituency of outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Perhaps the simplest and most convenient way that Colorado's citizens enjoy our great outdoors is by taking advantage of some of the many miles of trails found throughout our state.
In survey after survey about recreation demands in Colorado, trails consistently score as the highest priority. The 2003 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for Colorado identified that one of the most prominent recreation needs was to "complete community trails systems." Four of the top 15 local government needs identified in this plan related to trails. The 2008 SCORP survey identified trail needs of some kind as seven of of the ten highest priorities statewide. A "community trail system" was the greatest need for helf of the surveyed regions.
Based on this high level of public demand, the State Trails Committee and staff began to research options for developing a state trails mapping project in 2005. The vision was that this system would provide useful and easily accessible trail maps for the public, while also serving as a management tool for the many agencies that develop, maintain, and manage trails around the state. Advances in computer mapping techniques combined with widespread availability of broadband internet connections make a comprehensive, trail mapping project an attainable goal.
The requests from the public for trail maps continues to grow throughout the state. A number of communities and agencies have developed different types of trail maps for their jurisdictions; however, often these maps don't show the trails connect between jurisdictions or systems with different management entities. Currently, the only set of "statewide" trail maps is very outdated and no longer in print.
As envisioned, a state trails mapping project could provide detailed mapping information for managers statewide, to access and review trail systems. This tool could be used to show how and where trails could be connected to other jurisdictions' trail systems, to accept feedback from the users who can provide safety concerns, to identify maintenance needs, and to identify new trail corridor options. Also, the system can be used to provide important information to the State Trails Committee on missing links or priorities for future, trail grant funding.
Phases I and II
Two phases of the mapping project have been completed to date. Phase I identifies the needs and basic concepts of the overall project, provides general performance criteria, determines applicability and benefits, and compares nationwide platforms and systems.
During this research, a Project Advisory Review Group was formed. This group served as an informal focus group that provided input from a variety of sources including lay persons, trail user group representatives, members of the State Trails Committee, members of CORPP, federal, state and local agency trail managers, mapping and trails information vendors and experts, computer and internet experts, trail user equipment vendors and recreation and tourism business representative. Click here, Final Phase I Mapping Report, to read this document (please note to use the "Back" button, not the "X" button to stay on this website).
The Phase II project has streamlined the data collection, identified priorities for trail attributes, finalized a volunteer data collection process and researched basic web concepts to deliver the inventory. Colorado State University also identified a range of cost estimates for the Statewide Mapping Project. This successful pilot has determined that a State Trail Mapping System is attainable. Click here for the Phase II Report (please note to use the "Back" button, not the "X" button to stay on this website).
There are a number of future steps and alternatives to be considered to build the system. Collaboration with partners is essential to continue with this project and for its success.