City benefits from funding

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The Colorado Department of Natural Resources will soon receive more than $2.3 million from the federal government, which could benefit Northwest Colorado.

The $2.3 million from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is a significant increase from the $1.5 million allotted to the DNR in 2001.

Of last year's $1.5 million grant, $40,000 went to the Ridgeview Trail in Craig, and $68,000 went to the Dry Creek Trail in Hayden.

John Marshall, deputy communications director with the DNR, said applications for this year's money is already in, and announcements of where the money is going will be made in April.

Although he did not know details on how and where the money was being distributed, he said people in Northwest Colorado should feel good about their chances.

"Both the state parks and GOCO have shown that they are committed to helping statewide, including Northwest Colorado," he said.

In 2000, $130,000 of a $600,000 federal grant went to the Yampa River Core Trail Extension in Steamboat Springs.

Several people are excited about the yearly increase in federal funds, which has nearly quadrupled since 2000.

"Colorado will enjoy enormous benefits from the support of President Bush and Congress, who gave this important funding mechanism," said Lyle Laverty, Director of Colorado State Parks. "The Land and Water Conservation funds enable state and local government to form the types of partnerships that make projects like Cheyenne Mountain State Park and the Front Range Trail possible."

Department of Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher agreed.

"Rapidly escalating land values and demand for outdoor recreation opportunities continue to outpace state and local ability to financially meet that demand," he said. "This grant is critical to meeting Colorado's ongoing open space and recreation needs."

The $40,000 provided to the City of Craig makes up a fair portion of the $300,000 needed to build the Ridgeview trail, which will run from Ridgeview subdivision to Sunset Elementary School.

Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks and Recreation, said the goal is to begin construction on the trail this summer.

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