Great Outdoors Colorado on Friday announced a $2.28 million grant to the National Forest Foundation and the city of Glenwood Springs to restore the Hanging Lake Trail.
The trail and lake east of Glenwood Springs were closed following extensive damage from last July’s debris flows in the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area. The popular trail is located in the White River National Forest, just east of Glenwood Springs.
The grant was made possible through GOCO’s Community Impact Program, which develops and revitalizes parks, trails, schoolyards, fairgrounds, environmental education facilities and other outdoor projects. air that improve a community’s quality of life and access to the outdoors, according to a press release. The program leverages dollars from GOCO’s four constitutionally established investment quadrants: funding for local governments and open spaces, and for outdoor recreation and wildlife through Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Debris flows washed away major sections of trails, downed bridges and trees and buried the recreation area in rubble, the statement said. The trail closure has forced the cancellation of over 15,000 trail reservations.
The funding will support the surveying, design and reconstruction of a more resilient and sustainable trail leading to Hanging Lake. Proposed ecological and habitat restoration works include restoring the natural landscape surrounding the trail and an adjacent creek to minimize future erosion events and protect water quality, the statement said.
“We are grateful to GOCO for their generous support of the Hanging Lake Trail restoration effort,” said Mary Mitsos, president and CEO of the National Forest Foundation, in a prepared statement. “The NFF is thrilled to work collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Glenwood Springs, and other community stakeholders to ensure this iconic National Forest location will be enjoyed sustainably for generations to come. “
White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams called Hanging Lake a Colorado icon.
“We are extremely grateful for this important GOCO grant, which will serve as the foundation for rebuilding a sustainable trail for the next 100 years,” he said in the statement. “This grant and the contributions of many partners and volunteers will allow us to rebuild the Hanging Lake Trail much faster than expected. It’s a big day for the recreational public.
In addition to trail construction and restoration, GOCO funds will be used for interpretive signage to educate the public about the ecological impacts of the Grizzly Creek Fire while safely enjoying the new trail. , the statement said.
At $12 per shuttle ticket, the Hanging Lake reservation fee is an important source of revenue that supports trail improvements, lake protection, shuttle operations, and staffing. Hanging Lake’s direct economic value to Glenwood Springs is estimated to exceed $4.6 million annually, making renewed access to the area critical to community vitality, according to the release notes.
“Hanging Lake is a beloved community asset that holds a special place in the social fabric and economic vitality of Glenwood Springs,” said Mayor Jonathan Godes. “Our community is grateful to GOCO for their generous support in rebuilding the trail to this irreplaceable destination and to our partners at the National Forest Foundation and White River National Forest for their leadership on this project.”
To date, GOCO has invested more than $16.7 million in projects in Garfield County and has secured 2,708 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported Rifle Gap State Park Campground, Glenwood Springs Ice Rink, New Castle River Park, New Castle Community Sports Park, and Rifle Action Park, among various other projects. The county is also home to a GOCO-funded Generation Wild coalition, Garfield County Outdoors, which works to connect youth and families to the outdoors.
GOCO, created by a state constitutional amendment in 1992, invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and improve the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces . GOCO’s independent Board of Directors makes competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. For more information, visit goco.org.