The potential funding was disclosed at a May 28 county workshop, in Ridgway. A working group spearheaded by the Ouray County Board of Commissioners has been exploring funding opportunities to help offset the cost of the project activities, and to obtain a project coordinator.
The announcement of the funding request came from William R. Steele, coordinator for the partnership. Steele drew laughter from those in attendance at the workshop when he said: “We've got $5,000 that we're looking for a home for. Will you take it, please?”
The funds would be awarded in the partnership's name but are sourced to the National Forest
Foundation, which has given favorable consideration to an application submitted in 2007 for funding by former Ouray County Commissioner Alan Staehle, according to Steele. “This is an absolutely perfect fit for the partnership and what this grant money was intended to be used for,” said Steele.
The partnership, created in 1993, is dedicated to “keeping an eye” on the public lands and how they are used. Staehle has been an active member of the partnership for over a decade and is a member of the
The Ouray County Board of Commissioners also instructed County Administrator Connie Hunt to seek proposals from qualified individuals or companies interested who would provide project coordination and
research services on behalf of the Non-motorized and Motorized Public Trails and Roads Group, dubbed the Trails Group. A draft request for proposal defining the Scope of Work for project coordination and
research services was discussed and some minor adjustments were made during the workshop.
The Trails Group is comprised of representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Ouray Trail Group, Ouray County Historical Society, Thunder Mountain Wheelers, Western Slope Four
Wheelers, and the Uncompahgre Valley Trail Riders. These entities entered into a collaborative arrangement whose mission is to “preserve public access on existing and historical public trails and roads for the future use and enjoyment of all citizens, users and visitors,” according to a Memorandum of Understanding approved by the county commissioners in April.
The group will be overlaying private property boundary information with records of existing trails dating back to the 1870s, according to Ouray Trail Group representative Bob Risch. “There will be less emphasis on public lands trails, and more focus would be on mining claims,” said Risch.
The group was shown a chart developed by Ouray County Geographical Information System Technician Jeff Bockes that will derive five principal data sources for the mapping effort: Aerial imagery of trails,
roads and boundary layers; Colorado parcel ownership and federal ownership layers; BLM and Geographic Coordinate Data Base data layers referred to as “the most accurate up to date and 'official' cadastral
layer available;” the Ouray County assessors/clerk's records data base; and raw plat and mineral surveys and old maps “not spatially oriented” which can be tied to BLM survey points and other fixed ground locations to give the most accurate representation of ownership and mapped
locations of old trails.
The data, when assembled, will be “imported, scaled and projected” into the county's GIS, with Bockes working closely with the contractor throughout the mapping process.
The Trails Group will meet again in workshop to examine and possibly select a consultant from a pool of applicants on July 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the County Land Use Office in Ridgway.