Robb River Rally celebrates vision

Brain Mahoney, center on bike, rides on the Riverfront Trail on Watson Island during the Robb River Rally. Mahoney is the former chairman of the Riverfront Foundation and one of the early supporters of reclaiming the Colorado River in the Grand Valley.

Robb’s ‘string of pearls’ still shining

Jim Robb envisioned people biking, walking and simply enjoying the outdoors.

Robb died in 2004, but his dream lives on.

The Colorado Riverfront Commission honored him Saturday during the Robb River Rally behind the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

“This area was an old junk yard for cars and mill tailings,” rally co-chairman Katie Steele said. “If you didn’t want something, you dumped it next to the river. Their vision was to clean this up and what Jim termed a string of pearls along the river. That was their vision, to turn this into a beautiful trail system and reclaim the junk yards and turn this into something for the community to use.

“Their intention was to go from Palisade to Fruita and that still is our intention, but we still have some connection issues. Eventually, we want it from the Garfield County line to the Kokepelli’s Trail and all the way to the Delta County line south.”

The Commission, with the aid of a $500,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, will continue to carry out Robb’s dream.

“It would be nice to think people would be willing to pay a trails and parks tax, but I’m sure that’s a number of years down the road,” co-chairman Dennis Pretti said.

The paved trail currently ends at Los Colones Park, but it reconnects off C½ Road to 29 Road and winds to Corn Lake.

The latest grant will help build the trail from 29 Road to 33½ Road. The CRC is hoping to complete that section of the trail by spring next year, Riverfront Commission co-chairman John Gormley said.

The City of Grand Junction is coordinating the efforts to extend the trail west from Broadway to Rosevale Road and eventually toward Fruita.

Currently, the trail comes across the bridge on the north side. The grant will allow the commission to build the trail underneath the bridge through Rosevale.

“He’d be overjoyed,” Jim’s wife, Maggie Robb, said. “Jim liked nothing better than seeing people outside in beautiful spaces enjoying themselves.

“Jim dragged people on raft trips, walks to different sites, he dragged them everywhere and said he’d see a concert taking place. He showed them what he saw in his mind’s eye.

We went on so many raft trips at the time. He tried to do a lot of hands-on persuading.

“He was cognizant of the fact that there had been a green movement before that but nothing had ever come of it. When he was on the Parks Board, with his connections to the state legislature he was in position to make things happen. He felt he was very lucky he had those connections to make everything happen.”


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