No, those aren’t parking meters going up at area trails – they’re trail meters, and they offer a new way to donate to maintain Yampa Valley trails,” said the Steamboat Pilot & Today last week – and we thought, what a terrific idea.
The re-purposed, credit card-compatible meters have been installed at 10 spots by close-to-town trails, letting users donate to a maintenance fund administered by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which has raised nearly $500,000 toward a 2026 goal of $1.5 million.
The meter idea came from a Los Angeles-area organization that supports the homeless, the paper reported.
“It’s exciting to make it easier for visitors to support our trails right there at the trailhead,” said Helen Beall of the foundation.
Could this work in Durango?
We do not see why not. The base of the Colorado Trail, for example, is a wonderful amenity for west Durango residents and others who want a refreshing hike up Junction Creek, but if the trailhead restrooms have been opened this summer, it is news to us, and it would be nice to surface and perhaps expand that parking lot a bit.
Rather than wait for money to seep down through the Department of Agriculture to the Forest Service to the San Juan National Forest, and then to the trail, we would happily throw a few dollars on a meter with our card every time we used the trail, especially if we knew just where it was going. It would be a bargain.