An overlook on Rim Drive designed in honor of a young Durango native, who died in an avalanche, will enter its largest construction phase this year.
The friends and family of Peter Carver have been working to build a geology overlook at the top of Chapman Hill next to Rim Drive for the last two years.
A Fort Lewis College student, Carver, 23, died in an avalanche in February 2013.
“Since Peter was a geology student, this overlook is a natural,” said Paul Wilbert, a family friend who designed the project. “But it’s also a good fit because he was very inquisitive about how things work and that big fat world out there.”
In the first year, five trees were planted at the site, and last year, 60 trees were planted, Wilbert said. This summer, construction is scheduled to start on an outdoor classroom space that will include educational panels. For example, it might include a peak finder and an exhibit on local rock layers, said Peter’s mom, Karen Carver.
She hopes campus visitors, college students, school groups and day camps could take advantage of the space.
“It’s very accessible,” she said
The rim trail also will be rerouted to bring it closer to the road and level it a bit, Carver said.
The project is estimated to cost about $60,000.
Peter’s sister, Claire Carver, is submitting a grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado for $44,500 with help from city staff.
Several groups have volunteered to contribute matching funds. The City Open Space, Parks and Trails Fund will contribute $5,000, Fort Lewis College has committed $5,000 and the Peter Carver Memorial Fund will contribute $5,000, according to city documents.
If the project does not receive the GOCO grant, it still will move forward this year, but the grant would help it come to fruition faster, Wilbert said.
Because GOCO grant decisions won’t be made until June, it’s likely that the overlook project could spill over into 2016, he said.
Once the outdoor classroom portion is finished, 75 more trees will be planted.
These tress likely will be planted along new bike park trails planned for Chapman Hill.
Once the park is completed, geology students who are required to do community service would maintain the area.