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CYCLISTS’ DREAMS BECOMING REALITY ALONG KOKOPELLI’S TRAIL

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A Bureau of Land Management official said planning will begin immediately and construction could be under way by spring on Kokopelli's Trail facilities, which received federal funding last week.

A $101,000 congressional appropriation for development of water and restroom facilities along the new 126-mile bicycle trail was approved last Tuesday as part of the fiscal 1990 Interior Appropriations Bill."We're very excited about it and see it as a great opportunity to add to the Colorado Plateau Trail System which we're looking at continuing," said Russ von Koch, outdoor recreation planner for BLM's Moab District.

"We're pleased to be getting the money to get started on it."

He said the Moab office will wait for official notice that the money is available and then meet with Colorado organizations and agencies involved with the trail to determine project priorities.

Kokopelli's Trail, planned and constructed last spring on federal lands links Moab with Grand Junction through Loma, Colo.

The trial is the first segment of what is envisioned as a 500-mile system along the Colorado Plateau.

Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, originally sought $152,000 for facilities and trail development in both Utah and Colorado. His request failed to pass the House the first time through, but Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was able to pass a different version through the Senate.

House and Senate conferees met to resolve differences over the various proposals, and Garn was able to add money for the Kokopelli's Trail in the Interior Conference Report. The House approved the changes on a 381-41 vote.

"They gave us $101,000, and from the looks of the sheet I got from the BLM, that should pretty much cover what they wanted in Utah," said Jayne Ann Rex, legislative aide for Nielson in Washington, D.C.

According to a press release, the $101,000 in Garn's request was to provide for construction and operating costs of facilities along the trail's 96-mile segment in Utah.

"If that's the case, we'll have to be meeting with Colorado. We're going to have to negotiate it with Colorado," von Koch said.

Dan McAuliffe, legislative aide for Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, D-Colo., said it is up to the BLM to decide which part of the trail the money should be spent on. He said Campbell had sought $65,000 for campgrounds and water facilities on the Colorado side.

In Utah, the BLM wants to develop a water system and campground facilities at the Westwater Ranger Station, at the Fish Ford take-out below Cisco, and at Dewey Bridge, von Koch said.