City OKs ‘Bookends’ acquisition
Grand Junction City Council members approved a resolution Wednesday night ratifying Mesa Land Trust’s purchase of two properties along Monument Road needed for east and west expansion of trails in the Three Sisters and Lunch Loop trail system.
The city has committed $150,000 to the acquisition of the so-called “Bookends” properties: the 13 acre “Meens” property northeast of the Three Sisters property and the 47 acre “Files” property southwest of the Lunch Loop trailhead and parking area. Mesa Land Trust is about $50,000 away from reaching its goal of $825,000 in grants and private donations to purchase the two properties and help pay for development of a trail development plan for the area. Mesa Land Trust Director Rob Bleiberg said Thursday the purchases should be complete within the next couple weeks.
The acquisition comes with a goal of eventually linking Lunch Loop trails to Colorado National Monument and the Riverfront Trail System and examining what properties need to be acquired to make that dream come true, Bleiberg said. For now, Bleiberg said Mesa Land Trust will work with partners and gather public feedback over the next couple months about management of the new properties and hopefully complete a management plan by mid- or late-September to help guide trail construction on the two newest properties.
The land trust will convey the newly-acquired property to the city and the city and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will serve as operational managers of the two properties, which they already do for the sites in-between. The city’s parks department will handle maintenance of the sites.
Bleiberg said the acquisition will allow the city to protect view sheds on Monument Road and expand local trail offerings.
“This is a wonderful project for the community and we’re excited this is going to benefit people who live here and visit here and recreate here for many generations,” Bleiberg said. “We know tourists come from all over the globe to enjoy the trails at the Lunch Loop. We think this helps us have a healthy community and a healthy economy as well.”