DENVER - The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will vote on awarding $5.8 million in grants for motorized and non-motorized trail projects to be completed in 2012 and 2013 at the monthly meeting on April 12 in Pueblo.
Commissioners are also expected to approve adding two tracts in the Pike National Forest to the Colorado Natural Areas Program during the meeting, which is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Pueblo Union Depot at 132 West B Street in Pueblo.
Funded by the sale of Off-Highway Vehicle registrations and use permits, Colorado's OHV Trails Program awards grants each year that support motorized and non-motorized trail projects across Colorado. Applications are submitted in December and scored by trail grant review committees made up of agency staff and outside reviewers representing the full spectrum of trail recreation interests.
For the current grant cycle, the OHV Grant Review and Ranking Subcommittee has recommended awarding $4.2 million to 29 individual projects and 18 "Good Management" work crews across the state. They include funding to help the U.S. Forest Service complete trail reroutes and upgrades outlined in the Rampart Recreation Area's 2005 travel management plan, a grant to the Western Slope ATV Association for ongoing trail maintenance and improvements on the Grand Mesa and support for a trail workshop to be hosted by the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition to educate trail users about resource stewardship and working with land managers.
Over 160,000 OHVs were registered or permitted for use in Colorado during the 2010-2011 season. Revenues generated by the annual $25 user permit are used to support the statewide OHV program, the OHV registration program and the OHV trail grant program, including OHV law enforcement.
The Colorado State Recreational Trails Grant Program funds non-motorized trail projects for large recreational trail grants, small recreational trail grants, trail planning, and trail support grants. This program is a partnership among Colorado State Parks, Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Lottery, the federal Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Non-motorized trail projects recommended for approval include a proposal to extend the Colorado Riverfront Trail in Fruita, a five-trail maintenance and reroute project along the Front Range and the Regional Fourteener Trail Maintenance Project, which will tackle 34 miles of high-priority rebuilding and rerouting projects on some of Colorado's most beloved high-elevation hiking routes.
In addition, commissioners will be asked to formalize support for the OHV Good Management Program, which prioritizes funding for experienced trail crews who have demonstrated they can consistently meet the fiscal and field objectives in grant proposals.
In other business, commissioners are also expected approve two additions to the Colorado Natural Areas Program. Both the 6,300-acre East Lost Park area and the 373-acre Hoosier Ridge area are in the Pike National Forest in Park County.
Located within the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, the 6,300-acre East Lost Park hosts the largest population of Porter feathergrass, which is found only in South Park. High alpine limestone outcrops make the 373-acre Hoosier Ridge area one of the richest botanical sites in Colorado.
Since 1997, the Colorado Natural Areas Program has worked with willing landowners to conserve ecosystems, species, geology and fossils that represent unique resources in Colorado. CNAP has helped protect more than 150 rare, threatened or endangered species and plant communities at 90 sites across Colorado.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 14-member board, appointed by the governor, which sets regulations and policies for Colorado's state parks wildlife programs. To view the complete agenda for the April Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting, please go to the Commission web page at:
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation in its processes. Following the Pueblo meeting, the commission will travel to Grand Junction, Craig, Sterling, Gunnison, Glenwood Springs, Durango, Yuma and Colorado Springs during the remainder of 2012.
Members of the public who are unable to attend Parks and Wildlife Commission meetings or workshops can listen to the proceedings through an Internet link. This opportunity is provided to keep constituents better informed about the development of regulations by the Board and how they are working with Parks and Wildlife staff to manage parks, wildlife and outdoor recreation programs administered by the agency.
To access the live audio feed during the meeting, click on the "listen to live audio" link at the bottom of the commission webpage at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/ParksWildlifeCommission/Pages/Commission.aspx