Local stewardship fund invests over $145,000 in priority stewardship projects.
The Gunnison County Stewardship Fund Project Selection Committee has allocated funding for several projects that will enhance public lands, trails, campgrounds, and waterways.
The Gunnison County Stewardship Fund, working in alignment with the Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee, is an innovative, bold partnership dedicated to sustaining and enhancing Gunnison County’s public and conserved lands. The Fund’s vision is to finance stewardship projects and support our economy by engaging people and leveraging resources to proactively protect stated community values.
The Gunnison County STOR Committee National Forest Foundation, USDA Forest Service, Crested Butte Mountain Resort/Vail Resorts, Irwin Guides, Three Rivers Resort, Scenic River Tours, Gunnison Energy, Crested Butte Nordic, Mt. Emmons Mining Company, Tourism and Prosperity Partnership, and the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District (Met Rec) launched the Fund in 2018 and continue to support it through customer and company-generated donations and tax dollars collected by Met Rec to support local recreation needs.
For 2021, $145,000 was allocated by the Fund’s partners to help implement three priority projects:
- Crested Butte Conservation Corps, a program of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association will work alongside the Forest Service, Gunnison Ranger District to provide a robust field presence across Gunnison Ranger District lands from May through October. The Corps will implement a designated camping project around Crested Butte, complete routine trail maintenance, educate users on responsible recreation, and reduce impacts to Gunnison Valley public lands.
- Gunnison Trails’ Professional Trail Crew will maintain and increase access to Gunnison basin trails on Bureau of Land Management and National Forest System lands, including maintenance of 45 miles of trail and 50 campsites at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, construction of 4 new miles of trail at Signal Peak, and maintenance of the Colorado Trail in the Cochetopa Hills.
- The Gunnison Ranger District will continue to implement the Taylor Park Watershed Restoration Project, including the improvement of the Texas Creek road crossing.
“The challenges before us in public land management are many, as are the opportunities,” said Matt McCombs Gunnison District Ranger. “We have to rise up together if we’re going to meet them head-on and this is exactly what the Stewardship Fund’s investments enable. With this year’s allocations we continue to live up to the Gunnison Country’s values around stewardship and conservation and leaving things better than we found them.”
"Gunnison Trails is thrilled to have received critical funding through the Gunnison County Stewardship Fund to support our 2021 Trail Crew. These funds directly support our 8-person professional trail crew and on-the-ground trail maintenance and stewardship work on public lands across Gunnison County. From our local trails at Hartman Rocks to trails deep in the West Elk Wilderness, these funds enable us to maintain these incredible resources for generations to come.”
“This support and partnership has provided the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association with the opportunity to see the Crested Butte Conservation Corps grow into a professional crew, support local stewardship and job opportunities, and help the Gunnison Ranger District and our other partners to protect our valuable natural resources,” said Dave Ochs, Executive Director. “We are grateful to all the partners and people involved in making this happen.”
“The Gunnison Stewardship Fund serves as an extremely effective mechanism to support the community’s stewardship needs, which have only become more pronounced since the Pandemic.
The Fund’s collaborative structure not only helps leverage funding, but also ensures support of valued projects and community partners. As the County’s local recreation district, Met Rec is proud to play a role in catalyzing the Fund’s growth.”
Joe Lavorini, Gunnison County Stewardship Coordinator, added “The Gunnison Stewardship Fund reflects community values for the Gunnison Valley. The Fund partners have stepped up to contribute financially to the protection of our outdoor lifestyle and the public lands infrastructure that makes it all possible.”
The partners look forward to expanding the Fund’s impact in future years. Local businesses and residents interested in getting involved or contributing to the Fund are encouraged to contact Joe Lavorini at email@example.com.