The volunteers try to keep the weeds under control, and they work to keep the pathways clear of mud, sand and gravel. If the need arises, they’ve also been available to fix holes and cracks, remove graffiti and repair signage, among other things.
Along the way, those volunteer efforts have saved the county a considerable amount of money and effort, according to a memo from Grand County Trail Mix and Grand County Council Administrator Ruth Dillon. It would cost an estimated $12,969 a year to hire a temporary worker for six months, and that person would likely never get around to many of the routine tasks that volunteers perform throughout the year, according to the memo.
Yet as the county approaches its next fiscal year, officials will no longer be able to bank on that help to care for the 10-mile Moab Canyon Trail and other stretches of pathway.
Grand County Trail Mix volunteers – primarily Geoff and Sandy Freethey and Kimberly Schappert – are “retiring” from paved path maintenance. As a result, local officials must now decide what steps the county should take to ensure that the paths stay in good shape.
The Grand County Council met on Oct. 29 to consider some of the options that might be available in the future, but no firm ideas came out of the board’s discussion.
Council chairman Gene Ciarus said he believes the county has any paved pathway maintenance costs covered through 2014.
But the question of where future maintenance funding might come from turned out to be a confusing one.
At one point during the meeting, Ciarus cut off council vice chairman Lynn Jackson as Jackson attempted to lay out possible maintenance needs, along with potential funding sources.
“This conversation is making no sense,” Ciarus said.
Ciarus, however, appeared to rule out one possibility.
“I can tell you: I am totally against taking any money out of [the county’s] general fund for this,” he said.