U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have announced that the Federal Highway Administration will provide $4.4 million in funding from the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program to restore the Catwalk Trail in the Gila National Forest. The Catwalk Trail is a historically significant National Recreational Trail that has attracted visitors for generations, but it suffered significant damage as a result of monsoonal rain and resulting debris flows in Whitewater Creek in September 2013.
Udall and Heinrich wrote a letter to Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator, earlier in the month urging quick approval of the requested restoration funding, given the recreational site’s key role in the local economy and tourism industry. The approved funding will reimburse the U.S. Forest Service for emergency repairs and debris removal that were already completed, and will allow for needed repair and restoration work on several trails, a bridge, and viewing platforms. The portion of the trail that will undergo restoration is scheduled to reopen during the summer of 2015.
“The Catwalk Trail is a beloved draw for tourists and locals and it’s critical to the region’s economy to get these repairs finished soon,” Udall said. “I appreciate that the Federal Highway Administration heard our request to expedite approval of this funding. I urge them to continue to work together with the Forest Service to restore the Catwalk trail as quickly as possible.”
“I thank the Federal Highway Administration for heeding our call to fund the restoration of the Catwalk Trail in the Gila National Forest after last year’s flood,” Heinrich said. “The trail contributes to a thriving outdoor recreation economy by attracting tourists and locals alike to Catron County to experience the geological and historical significance of this area in a truly spectacular setting.”