Adams State Adventure Program awarded grants to improve recreation along Rio Grande


The Adams State Adventure Program (ASAP) was recently awarded three grants to expand outdoor recreational opportunities along the Rio Grande, according to Brian Puccerella, coordinator of Adventure Leadership and Programs. "We are partnering with other local organizations on these projects that will benefit the San Luis Valley community, in addition to Adams State students," he said. All three grants are devoted to "Activating Places and Spaces Along the Rio Grande Corridor."

The first project, begun this summer, is a collaboration with the City of Alamosa and the Rio Grande Farm Park on a $98,000 grant from the Colorado Health Fund. With its portion of the grant, $17,850, ASAP purchased stand-up paddle boards, mountain bikes, and helmets. The grant also covers wages for Adams State students who provide area youth with free instruction on paddle boarding and mountain biking. Next summer, college students will lead youth in the ASU Adventure Camp.

"This has been a really successful collaboration. We got a lot of kids out on the river this summer during Weekends on the Rio," Puccerella said.

Two additional projects are supported by grants through the Colorado Conservation & Connection Initiative (CCI) from the San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative, the Colorado Open Lands Trust, Rio Grande Headwaters Trust (RIGHT), and the Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC).

Alamosa County recently approved $13,000 to support a collaborative project that will work to create five miles of trails and watercraft access points along the river from the Alamosa Ranch to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, including an access point on the Adams State campus. County funds will supplement the $60,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study to revamp the Rio Grande corridor. Adventure Programs is working with the city of Alamosa and the Rio Grande Farm Park on this initiative.

ASAP received a third grant of $6,000 to improve the Rio Grande Natural Area (RGNA) State Line River Takeout in southern Conejos County. In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), ASAP and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) are matching the grant with $9,474 worth of in-kind contributions to complete the necessary work. The two-day project will be conducted in April, 2017.

Puccerella explained, "One of the only access points in and out of the canyon at the state line site is a defunct ferry crossing we plan to make safer and more usable. This will give more people opportunities to access the river." He noted the project offers a long term sustainable solution that has minimal impacts on the landscape.

This past summer, the online magazine Elevation Outdoors named Adams State University the Top Adventure School in the Rockies and Southwest.

By Julie Waechter