The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway Steering Committee takes care of signs explaining the sights along a 205 mile stretch of road from Carbondale to Redstone, past the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the meadows of Crested Butte.
Committee chairman John Hoffmann says they are now asking all the counties, towns, tourism boards and chambers of commerce along the loop to pay a membership fee of $500 a year for counties, $150 a year for everybody else.
“We’ve never had a budget. We’ve never had any steady money coming in," Hoffmann explained. "Everything that we’ve ever done has been totally volunteer and will continue to be totally volunteer. But we have needed money for repairing the exhibits.”
And the requests for membership fees are already paying off.
“We had enough money coming in from our first round of asks for a byway membership fee that we were able to write a check for $760 to have two new panels printed up," said Hoffmann.
Hoffmann says there are $30,000 worth of exhibit repairs needed. The committee hopes to raise $4600 a year with the new fee. He says so far the idea is being well received.