South Canyon Trail Phase 2 Opens

The Lower Valley Trails Group (LoVa) and Garfield County officially opened the 2nd phase of the highly anticipated South Canyon Trail on May 20, 2011 Though the weather was cold and rainy, about 40 people came out to celebrate the opening.

Representatives from LoVa, CDOT, Garfield County, the City of Glenwood Springs, the State Parks Trails Program, Great Outdoors Colorado, RFTA, the BLM, SGM, Inc. (who designed the trail), and Heyl Construction (who built the trail). Along with LoVa Executive Director, Larry Dragon, former County Comissioner, Tresi, Houpt, and former City mayor, Bruce Christiansen spoke to the enthusiastic gathering about what a great accomplishment this is, and the desire to connect the trail to Glenwood in the near future.  Said Christiansen, “We often only think of trails as a way to walk or bike from one place to another.  But, one of the greatest benefits of trails, is have a profound way of connecting communities.”

Current Commissioner, Tom Jankovsky, and current mayor, Matt Streckler, assisted Dragon with the official ribbon cutting.

This section of trail is 2,000 feet in length, about 12 feet wide, with 8 feet of pavement. It is located in the heart of South Canyon, entirely within the CDOT right-of-way adjacent to I-70, by the old bridge near exit 111.

This is the 2nd step toward constructing a non-motorized trail through South Canyon, which is, by far, the most difficult and expensive section of what will be the LoVa Trail. The South Canyon Trail is part of the larger LoVa Trail, which will ultimately span 47 miles through the Colorado River Valley in Garfield County, from Glenwood Springs west to the Mesa County line.  When the South Canyon Trail is fully completed to Canyon Creek, it will provide the only alternate route to travelling on I-70 for cyclists and pedestrians between Glenwood Springs and New Castle.

The funding for this multi-jurisdictional project has been a collaborative effort between LoVa, Garfield County, the City of Glenwood Springs, CDOT, and the Colorado State Parks Trails Program.  In addition to providing a great deal of the financial support, Jeff Nelson of the Garfield County engineering department was the project manager. Nelson said that, “it’s a great feeling of accomplishment getting this difficult section of trail completed, and I really look forward to Phase 3, which will provide connection all the way to Glenwood.”

With the construction of Phase 1 in West Glenwood, completed in 2009, and Phase 2, now completed in the west, the real challenge begins of connecting these two sections, about 1.8 miles apart.  “There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Dragon continued.  “With commitments for close to $2,000,000 through 2014, we have high hopes of leveraging these funds with a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) in 2012 for the balance of the funds needed, and complete this stretch by 2014.”  In fact, Dragon met with GOCO staff immediately after the event.

Think how nice this will be when it quits raining!

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2 Comments on “South Canyon Trail Phase 2 Opens”

  1. Michelle Tibbetts Says:

    I would enjoy it even in the rain!

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    btw, Michelle, Tod is the board chairman of LoVA so he was instrumental in getting this project to completion. They’ve been working on this for over 10 years. Trails are expensive!

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