Supporters of a singletrack mountain bike trail that will drop from the top of Grand Mesa to Palisade can do a little bunny hop.
Organizers successfully secured a $527,000 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for a first phase of construction on the Palisade Plunge trail.
"It's just great to be taking the next step for planning and helping to source contractors," said Scott Winans, board president of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association.
COPMOBA worked with the town of Palisade and Mesa County officials to go after the grant.
The funds will cover about 18 miles of trail construction, roughly below the rim of Grand Mesa to the Palisade Rim trail.
Construction should begin by next summer, Winans said.
"It's a neat complement to have an array of things that are bringing people to the area," he said about the future of the trail and the Palisade area. "We have agriculture, wineries, the sports shooting complex, the (Colorado) Riverfront Trail and the addition of trails. We're not just a one-beat drum."
COPMOBA will work with Mesa County to begin lining up contractors who will probably start construction on the lower end of the trail, near the Palisade Rim trail. Volunteer trail workers also will be needed to help with trail construction.
Future phases of the Palisade Plunge will include work on Grand Mesa, a parking lot and rest room facilities on top.
Pete Baier, public works director for Mesa County, said the county views the trail as a way to attract visitors.
"The county is really looking at it as an economic development project," he said.
The trail that comes in at about 33 miles of singletrack will draw cyclists from all over, he said. While plans have been in the works for a couple years, nearing the construction phase on what will be Mesa County's longest singletrack trail is occurring in a relatively short timeframe. The trail traverses land owned by a number of federal, state and local agencies.
"I'm very happy to see the community take on a project of this size," Baier said. "The federal partners are really good to work with. It's been a great collaboration."
In addition to working on the Palisade Plunge trail, Mesa County will kick off improvements to North River Road late next year. The corridor will act as an entrance to Palisade for cyclists coming off the trail.
The road will be widened, resurfaced and re-striped and will accept multimodal transportation, Baier said. The $800,000 to $900,000 project currently is in the design process, but construction should begin in the fall of 2019, he said.
The county's road construction plans were leveraged as a match for the grant.
Members of the community and local businesses also chipped in during a Power the Plunge fundraising push that raised about $58,000, Winans said. Businesses pledged an additional $40,000 over five years for trail maintenance for COPMOBA.
The wide-ranging support likely helped secure the grant dollars, Winans said.
"It's a nice big shotgun of partners who stepped up with cash and in-kind dollars across the Grand Valley," he said.
To contribute to Power the Plunge fundraising or to volunteer for trail work opportunities, visit copmoba.org.