Community members give input on recreation development
Community members gathered at Yampa Valley Brewing Company on Tuesday to give input about potential new recreation projects in the county.
The Community Visioning Workshop, hosted by Visit Moffat County and graduate students from the University of Colorado in Boulder, collected suggestions that will be presented to Moffat County leaders in hopes of developing new outdoor recreational opportunities within the community.
Lenny Swerdlow, one of the graduate students from CU’s masters of the environment program (MENV), said that he and the other members of the graduate team are hoping to expand on citizen feedback they received at the workshop to provide support for future projects within the county.
Several suggestions from Moffat County residents included more garbage cans around trails and camping areas to reduce trash pollution, better signage to and from recreational areas, and more parking around trails for vehicles and horse trailers.
“With COVID-19 last year, outdoor recreation has just exploded,” Swerdlow said. “In a lot of places, that’s been done not sustainably or in a way that wasn’t in line with the community’s wishes or desires, so we’re trying to see how those two things might overlap a little bit better.”
Swerdlow also said that common suggestions from Moffat County residents at the workshop were educational resources about local recreational opportunities and the creation of more parking at trailheads.
“(The educational component) is making sure that if people are going to come out, (we’re) making sure that they know what is and isn’t the right thing to do out there,” he said. “Making sure that you know if you’re not trespassing and making sure that you’re not hunting illegally, things like that. (That also includes) respect for the land and people’s property and the other people.”
According to the MENV website, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office has partnered with the MENV team (Rachael Blondy, Claire Kendall, Peter Olivares and Swerdlow) to support project development within the county with a project called “County at a Crossroads: Outdoor Recreation in Moffat County.” The project is aimed to help bring recreation-affiliated industries, like manufacturing, to Moffat County.
“The students will also support the clean energy transition, specifically, by helping Moffat County transition its economy from dependence on extractive industries for jobs and tax revenue towards a diversified economy that provides economic security through outdoor recreation and affiliated industries,” the Moffat County project description reads. “Together, the project deliverables will form an outdoor recreation guidebook, which can be thought of as a how-to manual for rural economic development and diversification in Colorado that can easily be applied to other counties throughout the state.”
Tuesday’s events offered several activities for citizens to complete for a chance to win prizes in a raffle. One of these activities featured a map of the county, where attendees could mark areas of interest — including fishing areas, hiking trails and camping areas. On that map, visitors were asked where they go for recreation, what they do there and what improvements they want to be made to those areas.
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