Riverfront Trail Phase I complete
Fruita Connection gives all new trail access
By Kathleen Goddeyne
Mesa County and Colorado Riverfront Commission representatives started work on the Riverfront Trail over 25 years ago. To make the Riverfront Trail System possible, the City of Fruita, the City of Grand Junction, the City of Palisade, and Colorado State Parks work together with Mesa County and the Riverfront Commission.
The vision is to connect the Riverfront Trail from the Kokopelli Trailhead to the border of Garfield County.
The trail already stretches 17 miles over 300 acres of land. The Riverfront Trail consists a 10-foot wide concrete path to ensure it will last throughout the years. No motorized vehicles of any kind are permitted on the county-maintained trail.
Currently, the team is working on connecting the Grand Junction portion of the trail to Fruita. The plan is broken into three phases. Phase II, a 1.4-mile stretch of the trail, is under construction. The 5.4-mile portion of the trail, Phase III, will begin in 2013.
Phase I of the trail, a $1.4 million project, stretches from the Blue Heron Boat Ramp, on Redlands Parkway, to the Walter Walker State Wildlife Area, located near 21 ½ Road was recently completed.
“It’s a huge addition to the Riverfront Trail System for recreational use and commuter benefits,” Katie Steele, Co-chair for the Colorado Riverfront Commission, said. “This opens up a whole new section of the river and it gives everybody access to get out and enjoy it.”
Funding for the Riverfront Trail project comes from the partners, donations, and a healthy donation from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). GOCO, an organization that receives 50 percent of Colorado Lottery proceeds, funded $2.9 million for the Riverfront Trail project in June.
The $1.1 million Phase II of the project runs from 17 Road to 18 ½ Road and is expected to be complete by Spring of 2013.
The third phase of the project will cost $6 million to complete due to a seawall that is needed to protect both the trail and Interstate 70 from any possible flood damage. This phase will be complete in 2014.
“Twenty-five years later, the vision is alive and well,” Steele said. “It’s been a labor of love from a lot of people over a long time.”