BLM Awards Stimulus Contracts for Trail Projects
Sep 10, 2009 | 1307 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Kicks Off Agency’s First American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area is kicking off the Bureau of Land Management’s first American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project in Colorado.

The BLM Colorado State Office awarded $60,000 in ARRA funding to the Colorado Youth Corps Association to conduct trail maintenance, construction, and restoration work for the Western Slope of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

Another $35,000 in ARRA funding will go to Bicycle Colorado to design and begin planning on the Gunnison Gorge NCA trail system.

“The Recovery Act was designed to put people to work while making investments that have long-lasting value for communities across America,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “That is what we are seeing at Gunnison Gorge."

In a statewide effort to ensure mountain bike trails are sustainable and that mountain bikers have places to ride, Bicycle Colorado, working with Singletrack Trails Inc., is slated to begin planning a trail-and-travel management system this winter, surveying the area and identifying links to existing trails, new trails and areas suitable for restoration. Once Bicycle Colorado completes the trail plan in spring 2010, the Colorado Youth Corps Association will begin construction on the system. The CYCA is a coalition of 10 conservation corps that engage youth and young adults in land, water, and energy conservation projects while promoting education, work and life skills. They will work on trail construction, maintenance, fencing and signage on a 10 to 15-mile stretch of the Gunnison Gorge NCA.

“We’re thrilled to be able to put young people to work on this important project and help create the next generation of natural resource workers,” said CYCA Executive Director Jennifer Freeman. “This ARRA project is a great opportunity to provide jobs for western slope youth.”

The Gunnison Gorge NCA encompasses a diverse landscape ranging from adobe badlands to rugged pinyon-juniper covered slopes to the spectacular double canyon of the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area. The Gunnison Gorge NCA supports an equally diverse range of uses including wilderness whitewater boating, Gold Medal trout fishing, big-game hunting, off-highway vehicle use, domestic sheep and livestock grazing, sightseeing, wildlife photography, and wilderness hiking and backpacking.

“The plan is to create an integrated trail system that provides diverse single-track riding experiences for motorized and non-motorized users,” Karen Tucker, Gunnison Gorge NCA Manager, said.

BLM Colorado will receive $20,735,000 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money will fund 103 projects throughout the state. Overall, the Department of the Interior will invest more than $3 billion through President Obama’s economic recovery plan, $305 million of which is dedicated to BLM projects.
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