Bookends acquisition is a worthy endeavor

On the heels of a well-publicized and successful campaign to purchase the Three Sisters property, Mesa Land Trust is looking at two more parcels of land in the Monument Road corridor to add to the public domain.

It’s part of a larger vision to establish a trails network connecting the downtown area to Colorado National Monument. With multiple benefits for the community, this project has our unconditional support, and we encourage individuals and businesses alike to help Mesa Land Trust raise $80,000 to purchase 63 acres flanking the existing Lunch Loop/Three sisters area.

The trust has already secured $740,000 of the projected $825,000 needed to purchase the two properties, dubbed The Bookends, through major grants from Great Outdoors Colorado, the Gates Family Foundation, the city of Grand Junction and other state and local foundations.

More than 700 people contributed to the $1.6 million Three Sisters acquisition. Mesa Land Trust is hoping for a similar outpouring of community support. Campaigns such as these rely on the now-familiar concept of crowd-sourcing. Mesa Land Trust will take anything it can get to hit its goals. So, if you have $25 to spare and want it to make a difference in the community, rest assured it’s money well spent.

A donation not only helps buy the land, which is converted to public open space forever, it protects views and wildlife habitat and assures more trail-building to enhance the world-class mountain biking system at the Tabeguache trailhead. A cadre of volunteers stands ready to create more recreational opportunties, providing a quick return on investment.

As Mesa Land Trust Executive Director Rob Bleiberg pointed out, few areas of the country offer more scenic beauty, a spectacular national monument, riverfront trails along one of the West’s most important rivers and hiking and world-class biking trails, all within a few miles of a vibrant downtown.

In 2013, Mesa Land Trust conducted a series of public meetings to gauge the public’s interest in the Monument Road corridor. Overwhelmingly, participants support protecting more land, expanding trails, preserving views and creating more open space. That led to the Bookends project, which could lead to an off-road paved bike path along Monument Road.

Eventually, the trust hopes that a multi-use path will connect downtown Grand Junction, the Colorado Riverfront Trail, neighborhood bike paths, the Three Sisters/Lunch Loop trail system and the Colorado National Monument.

Imagine the possibilities. A visitor could stay in a downtown hotel, pedal to the Lunch Loops or the monument and back without fear of traffic and then enjoy all that Main Street has to offer. It’s a rare opportunity to bundle the best of Grand Junction into a singular exprience.

We are strong advocates of parks, trails and open spaces, not just because they enhance our quality of life, but because of their economic impact. Recreational amenities attract bright, energized minds — potential residents who can bring vitality, diversity and fresh ideas to our community and our workforce.

Support the Bookends purchase. It’s one more step toward a brighter future.


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