Great Western Trail offers 11 miles of tranquility
October 3, 2012
As you may know, the town of Windsor has been involved in updating the Strategic Plan. Several residents participated in this process with the board, staff, as well as appointed boards and commissions. Under Goal 4 “Supporting Multiple Forms of Transportation” falls the action to enhance Windsor as a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community.
We’re all familiar with the Poudre River Trail, which currently connects Windsor to Greeley, and within the next two years will include Fort Collins, as well. But lesser known is the Great Western Trail. While at present, most of the trail surface is dirt, it can be enjoyed from the east edge of Windsor Lake, three miles north to the town of Severance. Further, once remaining access rights are resolved, an additional eight miles of trail will connect Severance to Eaton for a total one-way distance exceeding 11 miles.
As the name implies, the Great Western Trail was originally the track bed operated by the railroad servicing the local sugar beet industry. When the Great Western Railroad abandoned its tracks, the route was designated as available for alternate use under the National Rails-to-Trails Act.
The Trail is managed by the Great Western Trail Authority, which was established via an intergovernmental agreement signed by the towns of Windsor, Severance and Eaton. Cost to maintain the trail is funded by an annual $7,500 contribution from each of the three participating towns. Additionally, earlier this year the GWTA was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Colorado State Recreational Grant Program and a $60,000 Grant from the Colorado Safe Routes to School Program for trail enhancement between Severance and Windsor. Both grants, along with $30,000 in a combination of matching funds, and in-kind support by the GWTA, corporate sponsors, and volunteers, will be used primarily for upgrading the trail surface to ADA compliant crusher fines. This effort is anticipated to commence in spring of 2013.
For those interested, minutes and financial reports are provided regularly to each town and are available for your review.
Please plan on enjoying the tranquility and unique agricultural scenery provided by the regional GWT which interconnects our neighboring communities to Windsor Lake and the Poudre River Trail. Trail maps for Windsor, which indicates the Great Western Trail, are available at Town Hall, the Community Recreation Center and at http://www.windsorgov.com.
Don Thompson represents district 2 on the Windsor Town Board.