Lots of action at the Big Easy helping us meet our goal of opening early fall…
On October 7, 2016 The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $2 million grant to Jefferson County to fund a new segment of the 65-mile vision for the Peaks to Plains (P2P) Trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. The grant was part of GOCO’s first round of funding for its new Connect Initiative, with $10 million in grants awarded to close critical gaps in trail networks across the state. GOCO’s Connect Initiative will invest $30 million over the next three years in closing trail gaps and creating safe access for all Coloradans to the outdoors. More than 80% of people in Colorado recreate on trails, and closing gaps and increasing connectivity has long been a top priority for the state’s residents.
Jeffco Open Space’s proposal for the P2P Trail is one of six highly-demanded trail projects selected to move forward, with funding helping to construct more than 23 miles of trail and leveraging nearly $25 million in local matching dollars.
What does this mean for Jeffco Open Space and the P2P Trail?
This grant will allow for the design and construction of an additional 1.75 miles of trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, including a bridge and two trailheads with safe parking lots accessible from US Highway 6 that will accommodate an estimated 50 parking spots each. Design of this new section will begin in 2017 and connect 24 miles of hard surface trail from the City of Golden to the western end of the stunning oxbow at Tunnel #1 on US 6.
Allowing direct access into Golden’s downtown, the area is already serving as a hub for multiple recreation uses and this grant will further the thoughtful conservation and enjoyment of yet another segment of the P2P trail!
As part of construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail, there is a mandatory takeout at Cannonball Flats, milepost 261.23. This will be in place for the entire 2016 season. There are multiple signs in the creek to alert boaters as well as maps at the put-ins upstream. The creek is open again below the Big Easy, milepost 262.27. Please seethe notice below for full details.
The Peaks to Plains trail was just recognized as one of Colorado’s highest priority trail projects through Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful “16 in 2016” Initiative. This is an enormous honor. You can read the full press release below or learn more about all 16 projects on the Department of Natural Resource’s website here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper
Gov. Hickenlooper announces 16 highest priority trail projects
DENVER — Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 — 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.
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.”
The “16 in 2016” initiative was created to start a more focused, coordinated conversation to support trails and promote outdoor recreation across Colorado. Moving these projects forward means a better connected network of trails statewide, improved links to expanded outdoor recreational opportunities, safe alternative transportation routes and economic development opportunities for adjacent communities.
The initiative is a key component of Colorado the Beautiful’s broader goal to ensure, within a generation, every Coloradan will live within 10 minutes of a park, trail or vibrant green space. Projects were selected based on several criteria, including their economic development potential, their proximity to underserved communities, the need for new paved and natural surface multi-use trails, the potential for greater partnerships across all levels of government, nonprofits and the private sector, and the project’s ability to support environmental stewardship. Most of the selected projects have been under development for years and already benefit from local support and partnerships. Some trail projects are larger and will need significant additional investment; others are more localized and need a push to get over the finish line. The “16 in 2016” initiative is intended to focus attention and resources on those projects.
In order to support the advancement of these 16 priority projects, Hickenlooper will create an interagency council comprised of relevant state agencies and offices. This Council will ensure appropriate coordination occurs across state government to promote trail projects and outdoor recreation, and work closely with the newly formed Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and the Colorado Pedals Project.
The initiative is only the first step in a public process to develop a statewide plan for trails. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is undertaking a strategic planning effort for their Trails Program that will set values and goals for expanding and maintaining recreational trails across Colorado. Additionally, CPW will publish a statewide trail map this spring, making it easier for Coloradans to plan and experience an outdoor recreational activity.
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.
In case you missed it last week, the Peaks to Plains Trail received air time during Colorado Public Radio’s story on Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful Initiative. Follow the link below to read or listen to the story.
The closure at the Placer Flats Takeout on Clear Creek, at Mile Marker 260.5, has been lifted and the area is now open to all users. The one-day closure was necessary to enlarge the eddy, slow the water and create a safer takeout.
The temporary takeout, under the bridge at US Highway 6 and Highway 119 intersection, will no longer be open. All rafters and kayakers are required to takeout at Placer Flats, as the river downstream to Mayhem Gulch/Mile 262.25 is closed for construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail. Please refer to the map below for more details
The Project Team would like to thank the rafting community for their cooperation during yesterday’s closure as well as the during the construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail.
If you have questions about this closure or the project, please contact the Public Information Team at 303-569-9972 or P2PTrail@PublicInfoTeam.com.
The Placer Flats Takeout on Clear Creek, at Mile Marker 260.5, will be closed today to allow the construction team to improve the takeout. This work will expand the eddy area allowing more rafts to safely access the takeout. While the site is an active construction area, access to and from the creek will not be permitted.
During this closure, please use the upstream ramp located on the river right – under the US Highway 6 bridge, at the intersection of US Highway 6 and Highway 119. This temporary takeout will be clearly marked with signage. The bridge’s eastbound right turn lane will be closed to traffic with orange cones. Rafters and kayakers will permitted to use this area as a temporary, safe loading area.
Please see the map below for details. If you have questions about this closure or the project, please contact the Public Information Team at 303-569-9972 or P2PTrail@PublicInfoTeam.com.
Due to the construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail, the Cannonball Flats Takeout will be closed for the 2015 season. There is an impassable, temporary construction crossing upstream from this takeout and the parking area is closed for construction storage. All boaters traveling through this area will need to take out at Placer Flats. This area is also referred to as Mile 260.5 and is the pullout after the “Whew! Rapid.” Please see the flyer below for a map of the area and more detail. Thank you for your cooperation.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the construction team, US Highway 6 opened to normal traffic patterns late last night. Thank you all for your patience last week. Here are a few shots of the construction from early last week.
-Scot Grossman, Jefferson County Open Space