Lakewood, Colo. – The Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area is kicking off BLM Colorado's first American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project. 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 NCA. 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."
Bicycle Colorado will be working with Singletrack Trails Inc. and is slated to begin planning a trail and travel management system this winter. They will survey the area and identify links to existing trails, new trails, and areas suitable for restoration. Bicycle Colorado is a part of a statewide effort to ensure mountain bike trails are sustainable and that mountain bikers have places to ride. They work with volunteers and partner with local mountain bike organizations and land agencies.
Once Bicycle Colorado completes the trail plan in spring 2010, the CYCA 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 signing 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,” Jennifer Freeman, CYCA Executive Director, said. “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. The complete list of BLM Colorado projects is available online at www.interior.gov/recovery.