WINTER PARK - Work is nearing completion on about 1.3 miles of new trail near Winter Park.
This segment will complete the 4-mile Elk Creek Loop, a multi-use, motorized trail on the Arapaho National Forest, which is popular with ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and mountain bikes alike.
Headwaters Trails Alliance is helping to fund the project with a $7,944 grant from the National Forest Foundation's Ski Conservation Fund, which is maintained by Winter Park Resort. Resulting from a partnership between the National Forest Foundation and the ski industry, the Ski Conservation Fund gives visitors and guests the opportunity to contribute small donations at participating businesses. The National Forest Foundation matches every $10 contributed with an additional $5 and invests the funds in project on the neighboring National Forest.
Through this year's grant, HTA is paying to construct a new bridge across a riparian area along the new section of trail and is purchasing tools and materials for the project.
"Creating a new trail segment that connects already existing trail is an efficient and effective way to utilize existing trail, while creating a more user-friendly trail system," said HTA Executive Director Maura McKnight.
The U.S. Forest Service's Sulphur Ranger District is supplying the crews and machinery needed to build the new segment of trail and to complete hazard tree removal along the length of the route. These crews have spent nearly two weeks removing fallen and hazardous trees, roughing in the new trail and building the bridge.
"This project had been planned for some time and the environmental process was completed this spring," said Sulphur District Ranger Craig Magwire. "The grant from HTA and the Ski Conservation Fund helped make this project a reality."
The completed trail is expected to be open and available to the public by the end of the week.