Feb. 23, 2021 - The Eagle County Board of Commissioners has pledged $9 million to complete three of the four remaining sections of the Eagle Valley Trail. The funds are meant to jumpstart a multi-year fundraising process led by the ECO Trails Committee, a partnership that includes county government as well as the towns of Gypsum, Eagle, Avon, Vail, Red Cliff and Minturn. The committee hopes to raise an additional $12 million. Officials believe the project will promote sustainability, economic vitality, and an improved recreational experience for both residents and visitors. The funds for this priority project will not impact pandemic or other emergency spending.
The Eagle Valley Trail is the paved recreation trail that extends from the top of Vail Pass to Dotsero, with a planned spur trail from Dowd Junction to Minturn. The remaining sections of the Eagle Valley Trail to be constructed include between EagleVail and Dowd Junction, between Dowd Junction and Minturn, between Duck Pond Open Space and Dotsero and Glenwood Canyon, and between Horn Ranch Open Space and Edwards. Once these four segments are constructed, the trail will complete Eagle County’s section of the paved trail system that runs from Breckenridge to Aspen.
The funding allocation will allow the county’s ECO Trails Department, which oversees design, construction and maintenance of the Eagle Valley Trail, to design and construct the trail sections between EagleVail and Dowd Junction, Dowd Junction and Minturn, and Duck Pond Open Space and Dotsero over the next three years. The Trails Committee intends to raise the estimated additional $12 million needed to complete the remaining Horn Ranch to Edwards section. Overall, the county is striving to have the entire trail completed by 2025.
“The Eagle Valley Trail is an incredible community asset, used by both local residents and visitors. We are committed to finishing the remaining sections of the trail by 2025, to give trail users an uninterrupted trail experience from the top of Vail Pass to the start of Glenwood Canyon,” said Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney. “While many people use all or portions of the trail for recreation, it’s also a valuable route for commuters and people choosing alternative transportation throughout the valley.”
“This project will not only help to complete the Eagle Valley Trail within Eagle County by 2025, it will ultimately connect our section of the paved trail system that runs from Breckenridge to Aspen. This paved trail spans four counties and connects some of Colorado’s most popular resort communities, providing incredible high country cycling, all without having to ride on roads,” said Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry.
“We felt it was time to complete the trail as more residents and visitors utilize the trail for personal commuting and recreation,” said Commissioner Matt Scherr. “The outdoor recreation industry is an important part of our economy in the region and in Eagle County, and this will promote not only personal health and well-being, but also zero-emission traveling and the recreation economic sector.”
The latest section of trail to be completed was the 6.7-mile section connecting the Town of Eagle with Horn Ranch Open Space, which was opened in 2019. That section of trail, which required a bridge over the Eagle River, cost roughly $7 million and was aided by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.
“We will need the entire community’s support to finish the Eagle Valley Trail,” said Dick Cleveland, chair of the ECO Trails Committee. “The last section between Horn Ranch and Edwards is among the most complicated, with easements needed, constraints such as Highway 6, the Eagle River and the railroad, and many other considerations. We’ll be seeking funding for that portion from local fundraising to grants, any opportunities we can find.”
Information on plans to complete the Eagle Valley Trail and ways to contribute can be found at www.eaglecounty.us/ecotrails or by contacting email@example.com.
Facts and figures about ECO Trails and the Eagle Valley Trail are available at www.eaglecounty.us/ecotrails/historyandprogramgoals.