Youth, outdoor types will benefit from $110,000 in funds for trail

Andrew Rutter rakes dirt as crew members with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps build a 22-mile mountain bike and motorcycle trail along the rim of Gunnison Gorge near Delta.

Local youth and outdoors types will benefit from a 22-mile trail being built near Delta on public land, thanks to stimulus dollars.

For the first time in Colorado on Bureau of Land Management land, money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is being used for trail building.

More than 50 youths, ages 16 to 24, will have paid work that is expected to last through the fall, according to Rusty Lloyd, director of the Western Colorado Conservation Corps.

“This increased our ability to serve kids in western Colorado. There are not a lot of jobs out there for them,” Lloyd said. “Two to three years ago we had trouble finding kids to work. Now we have a huge work force looking for jobs.”

The project, which is south of Delta and runs parallel to the Gunnison Gorge, received $110,000 in funding, Lloyd said. It is in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, and the multiuse trail was designed by a Colorado group, Singletrack Trails. The conservation corps’ state agency, the Colorado Youth Corps Association, is a partner in the effort.

Youth workers receive an hourly wage plus a scholarship through AmeriCorps of $1,000 to $2,300 to use at a college or university of their choice.

The trail work gives workers a break from tamarisk removal and allows them to cull new skills that they could use to apply for work with other entities, such as the National Park Service and the BLM.

The work is laborious,  moving rocks and controlling erosion. The trail is being constructed for a wide range of uses, including mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.

“This is really in the spirit of using local young people to employ to get them better job skills and for money for higher education,” Lloyd said.


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