Friday, September 28, 2012
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The Town of Estes Park has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program by the Upper Front Range Regional Planning Commission. The grant will assist with construction of a parking structure at the Town-owned Estes Park Visitor Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave. The project enhances the Town of Estes Park's efforts, in collaboration with Rocky Mountain National Park, to improve transit while reducing congestion and emissions in the Estes Valley and in Rocky Mountain National Park. The construction site is a parking lot located east of the Estes Park Visitor Center. A convenient location for the structure, the Visitor Center serves as a hub for the Town's free summer shuttle service, which operates each summer and transports residents and visitors to stops throughout the valley. It also serves as a stop for the Rocky Mountain National Park Hiker Shuttle. The Visitor Center and its staff served approximately 400,000 visitors in 2011. The future parking facility is estimated
Town Of Estes Park Awarded Third Grant For Parking And Transit Project
Free guided hike on Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 29 The Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) and Rocky Mountain National Park are pleased to announce the completion of the four-year project to rehabilitate and improve three miles of trails in the popular Alberta Falls and Lake Haiyaha region of the park. Work on a few finishing touches is wrapping up now and a celebratory, free, interpretive hike is scheduled for Saturday, September 29, which is also Public Lands Day. This trail network, which links Alberta Falls and Lake Haiyaha, is easily accessed from the popular Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge trailheads, and is a popular area in the park. The trail continuing on to Lake Haiyaha was unimproved, and hikers had difficulty finding the route to the lake. This section of trail was never formally designed or constructed, and increasing use caused significantly deteriorating trail conditions, resource degradation and erosion. These problems have been carefully corrected. The project greatly increased visitor safety and improved the trails' usability and beauty, while protecting the area's fragile and valuable natural resources and retaining a primitive character. The properly constructed trails, which incorporate significant sections of labor-intensive dry-laid stone, are expected to last for at least 100 years. Over the last four years, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) raised more than $400,000 to support this ambitious trail restoration and construction project. Contributors included nearly 1,000 generous private donors, the Colorado State Trails Fund, the Gates Family Foundation and more. to provide approximately 300 spaces, whereas the current lot provides approximately 86 spaces. The complex also includes an existing parking area to the north and northwest of the Visitor Center, as well as an additional parking lot south of the Big Thompson River. With the project tentatively scheduled to begin construction in late 2013, final project details will be determined through a public process. This process will consider future expansion as well as a design that preserves the aesthetics of Estes Park. Additional grant funds supporting this project include a $228,000 CMAQ grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, and $3 million from the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This program addresses the challenges of increasing vehicle congestion in and around national parks and other federal lands. The parking structure is also supported by numerous local studies and surveys that indicate a need for improved transit and/or parking in Estes Park.
Celebrate The Completion Of The Alberta-Haiyaha Trail Project
Rocky Mountain National Park staff, volunteers, and RMNA's own American Conservation Corps worked hard to make the needed improvements. This was a tremendous group effort-many thanks to all who pitched in time and money. "There can be no better use of our collective efforts on behalf of Rocky Mountain National Park than to enhance the opportunity for public enjoyment of this pristine landscape while also improving its protection," said the Rocky Mountain Nature Association's Executive Director, Charles Money. According to park superintendent Vaughn Baker, "We appreciate the support of our partner, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, to fund much needed projects like this. The park's trail crew with critical assistance from a variety of other groups like the American Conservation Corps, the Texas Trail Tamers and the Southeast Utah Group National Park Service trail crew accomplished great work. Hikers will be pleased with the end-result." Please join RMNA and park staff on Saturday, September 29 at 8 a.m. for a free, guided, interpretive hike on these improved trails. Learn about the work that was done, the challenges involved, and how it will protect this resource for the enjoyment of all! This event is free, but reservations are required and space is extremely limited. Please call 970-586- 0108 to learn more and reserve your spot. RMNA is now working to secure funds for the next high-priority trail project in the park. Details will be announced soon. To learn more, become a member, or make a donation, visit www.rmna.org.