The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) - Salida Ranger District is the recipient of a Colorado State Non-motorized Trails Construction/Maintenance grant. It was awarded to improve a popular recreation area in Chaffee County. The funds will be used in 2016 and 2017 to construct a family-friendly sustainable trail directly across from Chalk Lake Campground at the base of Agnes Vaille Falls in the Chalk Creek Canyon drainage.
With support from the community, the Salida Ranger District is proposing to construct an elevated wood boardwalk, create an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant trail segment and reconstruct a road segment that is currently impassible. The trail will provide a quality experience for families and may include picnic sites, interpretative panels, a waterfall viewing deck and rest benches throughout the trail system.
The Agnes Vaille Falls Trail (NFST #1443) was closed due to visitor safety concerns in September 2013 following a tragic, large rockslide event that took the lives of five individuals. The trail has been incorporated into USFS long-term trail management plans, and efforts to re-open this area of the San Isabel National Forest are a priority of the Salida Ranger District. The District will make improvements and additions to the trail system to provide a much desired recreation opportunity in this iconic area.
Support on the grant proposal came from the Chamber of Commerce, Historic St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon Inc. (HSE&CCC Inc.), Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), Salida Mountain Trails (SMT) and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). The work will be accomplished in partnership with USFS crews, community volunteers and partners, professional contractors and other groups that are interested in participating.