Bridgeport Road parking lot for hikers improved

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—The Bridgeport parking lot for a trail head for the Dominguez-Escalante Canyon National Conservation Area is shown along the Union Pacific Railroad south of Grand Junction. Hikers cross the railroad to a bridge and trail that lead to the canyon. The Bureau of Land Management hopes to work with the railroad and Mesa County on building an underpass for hikers.

The first step in what is hoped will be improved public access from Bridgeport Road to the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area was recently completed by the Bureau of Land Management.

A new parking area — built on an old gravel pit just before you reach the informal parking lot near a Union Pacific rail line — has room for vehicles as large as horse trailers and school buses, turnaround space, and new restroom facilities.

The Bridgeport access point is the primary way to get to some of the most popular draws in the conservation area, according to Katie Stevens, acting Grand Junction field manager for the BLM.

“For folks who want to access Big Dominguez Canyon, and see the petroglyphs and the sheep, it’s either (Bridgeport) or from the river by boat,” she said.

Hikers this year will still have to cross the railroad line to get to the bridge that leads to the canyon. But Stevens said she hoped construction of the new lot would spur the broader process of building an improved crossing at Bridgeport.

“Ultimately what we hope to do is to work with Union Pacific and Mesa County to develop an underpass, behind the gate, that will be a safe crossing,” she said.

The BLM has also announced improvements in Rabbit Valley, which is an access point into McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. There they reoriented and improved the existing trail head, and built new restroom facilities.

The wider Rabbit Valley project includes further development of camping facilities, specifically in the northernmost developed campground this spring. That campground will be enlarged and redesigned for better access and camp spots, the BLM said.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
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To protect the artifacts and sites, it is important to minimize access. I have seen vandalism of petroglyphs without improving access. Possibly more resources from the county for enforcement might help

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