Federal funds announced Feb. 18 strengthens the vision of a pedestrian and bicycle greenway corridor connecting three national wildlife refuges and the Rocky Mountain National Park with the Denver metro area.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff joined with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Jefferson County officials at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge to announce the $2 million in funding, to improve Metro Denver resident’s ability to walk and bike their way to nature.
Of that grant money, $1,735,000 will go directly toward expanding the Rocky Mountain Greenway — a project to build trail connections between national wildlife refuge sites at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds, and Rocky Flats, with eventual extensions to the Denver metro area trail system on one end, and north to the Rocky Mountain National Park on the other.
Specifically, the $1.7 million will build a seven-mile link between Arvada and the eastern edge of the Rocky Flats refuge. While the former nuclear weapon manufacturing area has been designated a wildlife refuge, the property remains closed to the public, and does not have the trail and visitor center amenities of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal site.
The trail section lies within Jefferson County, and two commissioners attended the announcement: Chair Donald Rosier and District 1 Commissioner Faye Griffin.
The grants are part of a total allocation of $12.5 million for 29 projects in 20 states “to improve access to America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges,” according to the statement released by the FTA.
Within Colorado, the municipalities of Estes Park and Durango also will receive some of the FTA funding, also for the completion of recreational and transportation trails.