MINTURN — The Eagle River running alongside the old mining town of Minturn has come a long way since contaminated water from the nearby Gilman Mine turned its water orange in 1989.
Now a bustling part of the community for fishing and other recreation, the town has been awarded $30,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun project for improving current access points to the river and adding new ones — in total, five to six access points will be enhanced.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for Minturn because a lot of the locals do fish, both the adults and children. I think to make it more prominent and also safe is excellent for the town,” said Lauren Dickie, part of the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission that helped secure the grant. “It’s also good for Colorado because increasing angler opportunities for the state and the public in general is good for the environment.”
With Minturn making a push to be a “fly-fishing mecca,” Dickie said, signs of popularity among local anglers is evident. Multiple trails have been created down to the river, some involving jumping down rocks, and safety and the environment are becoming a concern.
With the Fishing is Fun grant, Minturn plans to create established paths, stairs where people are climbing on rocks and other upgrades addressing safety and the environment.
As part of the grant, Minturn will have to provide some resources to the project, possibly including labor and signage. While the project isn’t at that stage yet, Dickie said build days and donations of signs and materials will be appreciated in the future. Those interested should contact the town.
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ABOUT THE GRANT
Colorado Parks and Wildlife awarded $400,000 to eight Fishing is Fun projects, all geared to improve angling opportunities in the state of Colorado. The approved projects include improved angler access, habitat improvement, new piers and new ponds.
“Colorado has world-class fisheries and angling opportunities, and maintaining and increasing access to those resources is so important,” said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Fishing Is Fun is a powerful program to improve angling access for residents and visitors alike, leveraging angler dollars to assist in providing additional opportunities.”
A 2013 economic study found that angling contributes more than $1.9 billion annually to the Colorado economy through direct and secondary expenditures and supports more than 16,000 jobs statewide.
Since 1987, the Fishing is Fun program has supported more than 300 angling improvement projects of various sizes across the state, from the Eastern Plains and the Western Slope to the major metropolitan areas along the Front Range. Fishing is Fun funding comes from the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. Matching funds are required, and the eight projects approved in 2018 included more than $488,000 in local support.
Additional Fishing is Fun program details and requirements can be found at http://www.cpw.state.co.us. For more information about Minturn, visit http://www.minturn.org.
Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and [email protected] Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.