Working in partnership with others to preserve, promote and protect the wildlife, natural beauty and historic legacy of Staunton State Park for present and future generations.

Grand Opening Commemoration of the North Elk Creek Trail

As part of Governor Hickenlooper's "Colorado the Beautiful 16" Trail Connectivity Initiative, and thanks in part to Great Outdoors Colorado - GOCO and many caring volunteers, a new trail segment has been built connecting Staunton State Park to Cub Creek Trail in the Arapahoe National Forest. The ceremony commemorating the opening of this new segment was Monday, October 8, 2018 at the park, attended by John W. Hickenlooper, representatives from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Department of Transportation, The Bailey HUNDO, and more!

What is the "Colorado the Beautiful 16?"
The initiative is a key component of Colorado the Beautiful's broader goal to ensure, within a generation, every Coloradan will live within 10 minutes of a park, trail or vibrant green space.

Read on below!

Press Release

DENVER — Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the state's highest priority trail projects as part of Colorado the Beautiful's "16 in 2016" initiative highlighted in his State of the State address last week.

The projects represent the state's 16 most important trail gaps, missing trail segments and unbuilt trails, and reach from the Front Range to southwestern Colorado. Identification of these 16 trails is designed to build upon strong existing support and partnerships to push them to completion.

"We've identified projects that will help us fulfill the vision of Colorado the Beautiful, and create the kinds of connections that link us to the natural splendor that sets our state apart," Hickenlooper said. "We need the kind of outdoor access that more easily brings all of us – especially our young people – into the fresh air and away from indoor distractions. Getting more Coloradans outdoors more often is good for our health and a refreshing reminder of how fortunate we are to live in Colorado."

The "16 in 2016" initiative was created to start a more focused, coordinated conversation to support trails and promote outdoor recreation across Colorado. Moving these projects forward means a better connected network of trails statewide, improved links to expanded outdoor recreational opportunities, safe alternative transportation routes and economic development opportunities for adjacent communities.

The initiative is a key component of Colorado the Beautiful's broader goal to ensure, within a generation, every Coloradan will live within 10 minutes of a park, trail or vibrant green space.

Projects were selected based on several criteria, including their economic development potential, their proximity to underserved communities, the need for new paved and natural surface multi-use trails, the potential for greater partnerships across all levels of government, nonprofits and the private sector, and the project's ability to support environmental stewardship. Most of the selected projects have been under development for years and already benefit from local support and partnerships. Some trail projects are larger and will need significant additional investment; others are more localized and need a push to get over the finish line. The "16 in 2016" initiative is intended to focus attention and resources on those projects.

In order to support the advancement of these 16 priority projects, Hickenlooper will create an interagency council comprised of relevant state agencies and offices. This Council will ensure appropriate coordination occurs across state government to promote trail projects and outdoor recreation, and work closely with the newly formed Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and the Colorado Pedals Project.

The initiative is only the first step in a public process to develop a statewide plan for trails. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is undertaking a strategic planning effort for their Trails Program that will set values and goals for expanding and maintaining recreational trails across Colorado. Additionally, CPW will publish a statewide trail map this spring, making it easier for Coloradans to plan and experience an outdoor recreational activity.

While no new state dollars are tied to these projects, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) is investing $30 million in trails over the next four years as part of its Connect Initiative that will improve walkable and bikeable paths and trails for projects across the state. This special initiative is part of GOCO's new five-year strategic plan to protect land for people and wildlife, connect people to trails and other outdoor opportunities, and inspire kids to get outside more often. GOCO has dedicated the first $10 million of funding for Connect in 2016; these 16 priority projects, along with other qualifying projects, are eligible to apply for funding. Additional trails funding is available to eligible entities through other competitive sources, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Department of Transportation.

A list of the 16 trail projects identified in the "16 in 2016" initiative is available on the Colorado the Beautiful page of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources website. The list includes a brief summary of each proposal and a map locating each project.



"At the June 11 Outdoor Summit, Governor Hickenlooper directed the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to lead this initiative by first identifying 16 priority trails, trail segments, and trail gaps in 2016.

The North Elk Creek Trail would connect Staunton State Park's trail system to the Cub Creek Trail and Mt. Evan's Wilderness in the Pike National Forest. The natural surface, single-track trail would serve the mountain foothill communities of Aspen Park, Conifer, and Evergreen and would be an integral link to the Town of Bailey's planned trail system. An environmental impact assessment has been completed, and with adequate funding, the project could be completed in 2016." Source

"As part of the "Colorado the Beautiful" initiative, Colorado Parks and Wildlife's State Trails Program prepared a Statewide Trails Strategic Plan. During this process, valuable public input was utilized​.

The Trails program awards approximately $8 to $9 million annually for trail grants that benefit motorized and non-motorized recreation in Colorado. ​Each year people enjoy Colorado's superb trails approximately 227 million times for walking, hiking, biking, horse riding, ATV and snowmobile recreation. That is roughly the same as all other types of outdoor recreation combined in Colorado."

Read more here.

Connect Initiative Grants

GOCO's Connect Initiative will help increase access to the outdoors in Colorado communities by filling trail gaps, building new trails, and providing better walkable and bikeable access for youth and families. Applicants may request up to $2 million for trail construction projects. Read on...

We, the Friends of Staunton State Park, are excited that our surrounding communities are becoming better connected through a trail system that includes Staunton State Park. With increased access to our natural lands, we hope everyone will get outdoors, appreciate the beauty that surrounds them, and continue to fiercely preserve, promote, and protect it all for future generations to enjoy!

About Friends of Staunton State Park
Mission Statement: Working in partnership with others to preserve, promote and protect the wildlife, natural beauty and historic legacy of Staunton State Park for present and future generations. 

Our small, but mighty team was established in 2012 and has supported Staunton State Park with distinction ever since. From helping build and maintain trails, grant writing, signage, funding school trips, obtaining emergency equipment and fire mitigation supplies, and the creation of the Mark Madsen Accessibility Fund which has fully funded the historic Staunton Track Chair Accessibility Program, the first of its kind at a Colorado state park, we continue to dedicate our efforts to preserve, promote, and protect Staunton State Park and its most valuable asset - you!
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