Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee field trip

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photo by Anna Drexler Dreis | Dan Notal gives an update on the Himebaugh Creek property in Hot Sulphur Springs.
photo by Anna Drexler Dreis | Dan Notal gives an update on the Himebaugh Creek property in Hot Sulphur Springs.

by Anna Drexler Dreis
On June 16, 2021, the Open Lands, Rivers, and Trails (OLRT) Advisory Committee and Board of County Commissioners met in Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs for a tour of two of the land and river projects this sales tax fund has made possible. Advisory Committee members and all three County Commissioners were in attendance.

The first stop on the tour was at Windy Gap where Ed Moyer, Grand County Manager, gave an update on the project. During the first grant cycle in Spring 2018 the OLRT fund awarded Grand County $1 million to help make the Windy Gap Connectivity Channel a reality. The current budget for the project is $22 million and with Grand County’s contribution the project is short $4.8 million. Grand County putting up funds to construct this channel was especially important in securing additional matching funds.
Construction will begin as soon as the Watershed Plan Environmental Assessment and Final Engineering is completed, which is anticipated to be in early 2022.

Next, the group traveled to the Himebaugh Creek property in Hot Sulphur Springs. $550,000 was awarded to Colorado Headwaters Land Trust during the Fall 2019 grant cycle to place this 270 acre property in a conservation easement. Then, $245,000 was awarded to the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs during the Fall 2020 grant cycle so the Town could purchase this property and open it to the public for access. The town was able to purchase the property thanks to grants from the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Fund, Great Outdoors Colorado, Gates Family Foundation, and the town’s Conservation Trust funds. Dan Nolan with the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs and Jeremy Krones with Colorado Headwaters Land Trust gave the update on the project. With the conservation easement in place this property will be forever protected from development and will provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and connection to the Arapaho National Forest.

The Fall 2021 grant cycle opens August 9. For more information on the OLRT fund and applying, please visit our website at www.co.grand. co.us/851/Open-Lands-Rivers-and-Trails-Advisory-Co or contact Anna Drexler-Dreis at [email protected]