Whether you’re a mountain biker, runner, dog walker, or anyone else who enjoys using the Grand Valley’s extensive trail systems, May will be a big month, with the groundbreaking on the Lunch Loop Connector Trail.
This 1.5-mile, paved, off-street bike/pedestrian trail will follow Monument Road between Highway 340 and the Lunch Loop/Three Sisters trailhead. When complete, it will link Lunch Loop to the Colorado Riverfront Trail and Las Colonias.
This summer will also see a thorough redesign of the Lunch Loop trailhead, a popular gathering spot that is in need of shade structures and additional parking.
The realization of these new community assets began in 2017 with a public engagement effort led by the City of Grand Junction, Colorado West Land Trust, BLM, and Mesa County.
The public has been especially involved with the redesign of the Lunch Loop trailhead. Given the Grand Valley’s high desert climate and geography, creating landscape-appropriate shade structures is a high priority.
Additional trailhead priorities include relocating trail access from the front to the back of the parking lot for greater safety, and developing seating and tailgate areas for enhanced comfort.
While over $2.6 million has been raised for construction of the Lunch Loop Connector trail, donations and sponsorships for the final $35,000 are needed to complete the Trailhead Redesign and Improvements at Lunch Loop (THRILL) component. The target completion date for the THRILL project, including the connector and trailhead improvements, is October 2019.
According to Libby Collins, project manager with the Colorado West Land Trust, the THRILL campaign is more than just fundraising. It’s an opportunity to “strengthen the social fabric of our community, engage people in creating an accessible community place, and practice stewardship of the natural outdoor spaces that we love.”
Sponsorship levels, whimsically named for some of Lunch Loop’s most notorious trails, begin at $1,000 (Holey Bucket), increasing up to $10,000 (Free Lunch). Other sponsorship levels include Pucker Up ($5,000) and Widow Maker ($2,500).
Lunch Loop is the busiest trailhead in Mesa County. In combination with 18 Road and Kokopelli Loops, these three trail systems contribute approximately $15 million annually to the local economy.
Mandy Harter, a trail user and project supporter, sees this impact firsthand. “I see people moving to the Grand Valley for the trails. People come to visit, they use the trails, and then they come back.”
Harter, who enjoys the Lunch Loop trails with her four-year-old child, is thrilled with the parking lot redesign. “Lunch Loop is a fun place for kids and families. It’s exciting that it will also be a safer place.”
In addition to the Colorado West Land Trust, City of Grand Junction, BLM, and Mesa County, sponsors include All Metals Welding and Fabrication, Alpine Bank, Bray and Company Real Estate, COPMOBA, Grand Junction Lions Club, Mandy Harter/REMAX 4000, REI, and Rocky Mounts. To make your own donation, or for more information, please visit cowestlandtrust.org.Read More