Walking, biking trails summit set for March

Ideally, someone could hop on his or her bike and ride safely to and from anywhere in the Grand Valley, say bike enthusiasts who are organizing an upcoming conference about trails.

They are taking a holistic approach to the topic, engaging in discussion about the future and connectivity in terms of economic, health, transportation and recreation impacts. The Walking and Biking Trails Summit, in the planning stages and set for March 8 at Two Rivers Convention Center, will be the first of its kind in Grand Junction.

“The more support we have, the better the walking and bike system of trails we will have,” said Julie Sabin, co-chairwoman of the Urban Trails Committee and board member of Grand Valley Bikes. “More and more we are connecting up to a broader range.”

Health benefits, improved traffic congestion and less pollution will accompany a better trail system, she said. Also, safety is a key component, especially as students are traveling longer distances to school.

Two of the primary goals of the summit will be to look at updates for the Trails Master Plan and organize a grassroots group in support of trails, said Dave Grossman, coordinator of the Grand Valley Trails Alliance.

For being in the early stages, the conference has already gained overwhelming support and exceeded organizers’ sponsorship goals, Grossman said.

Although members are still working out the details, they have already lined up a keynote speaker, Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

He was named one of the six most important civic innovators in the world by Time magazine and is a leader in helping communities become healthier, better places to live.

The idea for the conference came from the success other communities, including Glenwood Springs and Denver, have experienced by doing the same.

“We’re trying to get as many people out as possible. … The trails in the area have a very dramatic and direct economic impact to the area,” Grossman said.

The Walking and Biking Trails Summit is open to the public. The city of Grand Junction, Mesa County, the Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office and the Mesa County Health Department are some of the those who have already pledged their support.

When city officials recently presented information about the event, Councilman Bennett Boeschenstein said, “This is a selling point for our community to have bike and pedestrian trails.”

Anyone interested in participating can call or email Dave Grossman with the Grand Valley Trails Alliance at 462-7151 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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