Investment in Purpose-Build Singletrack
More recently, our community and land managers have also begun to fund singletrack, purpose-built trail systems like South Cañon, Oil Well Flats, and the Royal Gorge Trails. Since the inception of our '1% for Trails' FAR has contributed over $XXX to the construction and maintenance of singletrack trails. Land managers (including the Recreation District, BLM, and the City of Cañon City) have also invested in these amenities, realizing that residents value outdoor recreation experiences and visitors can contribute to the economic vitality of our region. Trails are valuable! But economically, we don't know much of the financial return on our investment, and in order to guide future decisions (plus learn baseline-data about trail-related expenditures), we're working to undergo a socio-economic impact study of public trail systems in Fremont County.
Creating a Socio-Economic Impact Report with CU
At CU Boulder, the Masters of the Environment program has a Capstone requirement. The Capstone program is a competitive process that pairs students with businesses and organization that have a need - whether for a product or a process. In January, FAR submitted an application for a project and was selected by a team of students. We are overjoyed to be working with Masters candidates Joshua Corning, Eric Howard, and Nathan Boyer-Rechlin. They've already done a tremendous amount of work researching the process and similar reports (you can see similar reports for the Grand Valley here).
We need YOUR help collecting data!
A report of this kind requires a significant amount of data collection. The team will solicit information via an online survey to all residents of the community, but also in-person surveys to those who are actually ON trails. This portion of the data collection requires volunteer assistance. Helping is easy! Just hang out at a trailhead for a few hours before or after a ride or hike, chat with trail users, and enjoy being outside.
The first step in becoming a volunteer is to attend the volunteer training. This quick, one-hour class will introduce you to the project, help you understand the survey and methodology, and give you the tools you need to be successful.
Volunteers will be required to staff at least two 2-hour sessions throughout the summer. Data collection is done through a 'trail intercept' survey, which means that you'll be stationed a popular trailshead, will chat with trail users as they start out on their excursion, and ask them to take a brief (3-minute) survey about their experience in our region. Whether they're local or visitors, we'd love to hear from them!
Training date: TBD (very soon!)