Garfield County pens support letter for LoVa trail grant

Glenwood, New Castle, trails group seeking $11 million in state FLAP funding

June 6, 2019

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – Garfield County is backing a local effort to acquire $11 million in Colorado Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) funding toward design, engineering, and construction of the proposed 8.5-mile South Canyon Lower Valley (LoVa) Trail. The trail would provide a crucial connection between New Castle and Glenwood Springs along the Interstate 70 corridor through South Canyon.

The city of Glenwood Springs is partnering with the town of New Castle, the Lower Valley Trail Group, and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) in its application for the FLAP funding. Garfield County is supporting the effort.

“This is a great opportunity for the city of Glenwood Springs and its partners to get some funding to make this trail segment happen,” said Garfield County Manager Kevin Batchelder.

In a letter to FLAP, the county urged “strong support” for the trail, and recognized the importance of multi-modal connections between communities in Garfield County, and the benefits such a trail system brings to the region.

“The LoVa South Canyon trail project will promote outdoor recreation tourism, which is a major driver of the regional economy,” the letter reads. “The project will improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians who seek to access recreation sites along the Colorado River, and the project will also decrease congestion and vehicular emissions along the I-70 corridor.”

The trail has been called “the missing link” between the Colorado River Valley and the 42-mile Rio Grande Trail that stretches from Glenwood Springs to Aspen along the Roaring Fork River. Former Governor John Hickenlooper included the LoVa trail in his “16 for ’16” high priority regional trails list that should receive state and regional assistance to come to fruition.

In the past three years, Garfield County has provided $15,000 in grants to help with planning, design, and engineering work on the trail, as well as another $30,000 in matching grants from its Conservation Trust Fund to help both New Castle and Glenwood Springs with trail connections to the LoVa trail.

The letter of support was approved unanimously, 3-0.