Daniels talks trails with URGED

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MONTE VISTA— Mick Daniels, executive director of San Luis Valley Get Outdoors (SLVGO), hosted a presentation during the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) meeting on Tuesday, May 9. Daniels opened his presentation by welcoming everyone to Smoking Jonny’s BBQ near Monte Vista. The presentation focused on trail systems throughout the San Luis Valley and how his group could help property owners develop new trails that could potentially bring people to the area.
Over the last several months, the group has been focusing their efforts on new projects in the Valley, with the intent of opening options for residents and business owners Valley-wide to help stimulate economic growth. One of the main topics of discussion has been focused on how to bring people to the area and get them to stay. Through these conversations, URGED has learned that offering a wide variety of outdoor opportunities through recreational outlets that are easily and readily available is a solution.
SLVGO is funded through several resources to help with efforts to create and develop trail systems throughout the region. Daniels explained that their efforts will be similar to those done by Del Norte Trails and will also be working with communities that were funded recently through Get Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to utilize the funding in the best ways possible.
Daniels also took a moment and spoke about the benefits of seasonal businesses in the area and how they can bring in large amounts of money to people willing to venture down that path. Seasonal businesses include outfitting during hunting seasons, jeep tours, hiking groups and other outdoor based businesses. “We need to look at how we encourage people to help grow small seasonal businesses. We need to change our thought process,” said Daniels.
“Even though these seasonal businesses only run about three months out of the year, they can bring in a substantial amount of money. If we have the trail systems to support the outdoor opportunities, people would be more willing to try a seasonal business,” explained Daniels. He continued by stating that through the funding they had received, they hope to help develop trails as well as provide training for businesses in the area to offer seasonal options. “We are available to help and to work with people to get things started,” said Daniels.
In addition to the trail conversation, Daniels also spoke about contacting private landowners that have land that is underused. By talking with people who may be interested in allowing a trail system in their property, it would create a connective trail system throughout the Valley. “We plan to use our resources to develop trails that are easily accessible through the communities,” said Daniels.
As an example, Daniels spoke about Colorado Springs and how their trail system runs throughout the community, allow easy access to outdoor recreational opportunities. “If we can make the trails accessible through our communities, people won’t have to drive 30 minutes to get to their outdoor recreation. It has been proven that by providing this option, people will move to an area that has it available, rather than an area that does not,” finished Daniels. For more information or to contact SLVGO please visit, www.slvgo.com

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