The Colorado West Land Trust, in partnership with the city of Grand Junction and the Bureau of Land Management, has received funding for a critical land purchase that will make continuing its paved path along Monument Road possible.

This week, Great Outdoors Colorado announced a $156,920 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to go toward purchasing about 20 acres of land near the intersection of Monument Road and South Camp Road.

“GOCO has been a very strategic funder in all of the Monument corridor,” said Libby Collins, Colorado West Land Trust project manager. “They really value this work because it does such a great job at connecting people to the land through trails, but also preserving open space and view sheds.”

The first phase of the Monument Connector Trail was opened earlier this year and runs from the Riverfront Trail to the Lunch Loop trailhead. The second phase will continue to traverse No Thoroughfare Wash, which veers away from the road, Collins said.

“This one is really important because it will allow the paved trail to occur in a really scenic place where people will really enjoy the landscape,” Collins said. “It won’t be right along the road.”

Both Collins and Ken Sherbenou, director of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation, said the partnerships between many organizations on this project are what will make it successful. When finished, this paved trail will complete a 10-mile paved loop connecting downtown Grand Junction to the parks and trails west of the city.

“The City’s work to create outdoor experiences for people of all ages and abilities is enhanced by its partnerships with CWLT, the BLM, and Mesa County as well as with trail builders such as Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association,” Sherbenou said in a statement. “These collaborative efforts, supported by GOCO, allow all of these organizations to have a greater impact throughout our community.”

Outdoor Wilderness Lab

Great Outdoors Colorado also announced a $45,000 grant to Mesa County and School District 51 for a project to upgrade the Outdoor Wilderness Lab at the Gateway School.

The grant will go toward constructing a permanent outdoor classroom on the Gateway School’s campus, according to a news release. It will include a covered classroom space with outdoor furniture, ADA-accessible paths, a privacy fence and gravel paths.

Students in the program will participate in every phase of the project.

When completed, more than 2,000 sixth-grade students will use the classroom as part of their outdoor education.

In the past, the program has operated out of borrowed or rented facilities.

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