A key connection on Riverfront Trail

Nearly 25 years ago, members of what was then called the Grand Junction-Mesa County Riverfront Commission envisioned a trail following the Colorado River that would stretch from De Beque Canyon to the Utah border.

Great strides have been made since 1987 to make that vision a reality. And, although the full trail has yet to be completed, progress toward that end continues.

The latest evidence of that is the announcement this week of the pending acquisition of nearly 16 acres of land west of Fruita — property that will allow for a connection to Kokopelli’s Trail in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and from there, not just to the Utah border, but all the way to Moab.

The property is to be jointly acquired by Mesa County, the city of Fruita and the Riverfront Foundation.

When combined with Mesa County’s request for design proposals for a section of trail from 24 Road west to the Fruita Welcome Center, it means the day may not be far in the future when a person could hike or bike from downtown Grand Junction to Kokopelli’s Trail, entirely on the Riverfront Trail. Beyond that, as the trail heads to Utah, it strays away from the river onto the benches and high desert of McInnis Canyons

We applaud the city of Fruita, the Riverfront Foundation and Mesa County for their ongoing efforts to work toward completion of that vision developed nearly a quarter century ago. The original riverfront project was born during one of the worst economic downturns to grip this region, and it proved to be a catalyst for community optimism and effort during those difficult times.

By proceeding with acquisition of property for a key section of the Riverfront Trail, the public entities involved are providing a key connection, not only for the trail itself, but with the spirit and determination that imbued the original riverfront efforts.


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