Work connects trails for horse lovers, hikers near Fruita

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Members of the Grand Mesa Backcountry Horsemen and Friends of McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area scratch a new trail in the desert in the conservation area this morning. The new trail, which will run about a third of a mile, is expected be completed today and is being built under the direction of park rangers with the Bureau of Land Management.

Getting along on horseback in the area of Devils Canyon in McInnis Canyons National Conversation Area had never been a problem for 67-year-old Mark Ackerman.

Finding parking space that wasn’t in conflict with other users at Kingsview Drive in Fruita, however, was another story.

A parking lot that recently was completed at the start of a trail head is off-limits to his oversized horse trailer.

So Ackerman, a Glade Park resident, along with other horse lovers, made their own way Saturday.

“This trail we’re making today will avoid that parking lot altogether,” said Ackerman, one of 16 volunteers who on Saturday started and finished a one-third-mile section of trail in McInnis Canyons.

“This opens up everything to horses around here.”

Ackerman, a member of the Grand Junction chapter of the Grand Mesa Back Country Horsemen, worked Saturday with rangers from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to build a section of trail connecting to a parking lot reserved for horse trailers at the base of nearby Opal Hill.

The project is the continuation of work completed last fall by staff with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps.

“I’m guessing we’re talking about 12 to 15 miles of new trails,” said Troy Schnurr, a Bureau of Land Management supervisor, who oversaw Saturday’s work.

Schnurr noted that the new trails are open to hikers, but mechanized use isn’t allowed.


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