To walk from downtown Ignacio up to the new schools and Pine River Community Learning Center in Candelaria Heights used to mean sharing a road with cars whizzing up the hill.
Now, thanks to the Southwest Conservation Corps, there are three footpaths for pedestrians, providing lots of ways for folks to get to or from school, work or home.
The work was funded by a Great Outdoors Colorado grant provided by lottery funds.
Eight youth from the SWCC and two from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe youth employment program re-built the old trails in late June, finishing up last week.
The trails had been used for years, but had fallen into disrepair and needed to have rocks and weeds cleared away, and gravel added. On one trail, the workers cut up old telephone poles to create steps, said Eric Borr, one of the leaders of the corps.
While the work is hard, the project started looking "pretty good" as it reached its conclusion, said Lenka Doskicil, one of the corps workers from Bayfield.
Moving large rocks to widen the trails was one of the hardest tasks, she added.
The youth did a great job on the physically-demanding project, said Rocco Fuschetto, the superinentendent of Ignacio schools. Now that the major work has been done, Fuschetto said school maintenance staff will maintain the trails to keep them in usable condition.