GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Walkers, riders, and river-lovers are off and on their way to Fruita, as the newest section of the Riverfront Trail will be unveiled this morning.
In the long run, we've still got a long way to go, but we're finally 2.8 miles closer to where we need to be.
"Uninterrupted riverfront trail from palisade all the way to Fruita,” says Jessica Peterson, public relations director for Mesa County,
That's the big picture, but one piece of that puzzle is finally falling in to place.
"This will be the official dedication of this first section of riverfront trail that will eventually connect Fruita and Grand Junction,” says Peterson. “For now people will be able to use this new section of trail between the blue heron boat ramp, which is right on Redlands Parkway, all the way to the Walter Walker State Wildlife Area, which is around 21 ½ road."
It's part of a three-phase plan that the county has been working on since December, but the Riverfront Commission has had expansion in mind for much longer.
"The Riverfront Commission actually started 25 years ago, and they've been helping to bring all of the partners in,” says Peterson.
More recently, the county has been helping to fund the construction and bring in grants.
"Great Outdoors Colorado awarded us several big grants in recent years for the riverfront project because they see this as a statewide priority for recreation, for riverfront preservation, for wildlife habitat, for economic development, and all of those important reasons,” she says. "The other folks involved in the project have made big donations, in kind donations of work and tamarisk removal."
They've been hard at work to make these two point eight miles of trail an extended area for walkers, riders, lovers of the Colorado River.
"What’s exciting about having the uninterrupted trail from Fruita to Palisade, is really there are so many opportunities for the community, not just for recreation and coming down and riding your bike, and taking your kids, and fishing in the river, and whatever else people might like to do for fun,” she says.
Now that phase one is done, the second and third areas are currently under construction, all of which should be completed by early 2014.
The public is invited to be take the new section of trail for a spin today. At 10 a.m., there will be a ribbon cutting and a chance to Mesa County to name the new section. It's all taking place at the Blue Heron Boat Ramp off of Redlands Parkway, east of the Colorado River bridge.
Event organizers say there is parking at the Boat Ramp, but if the lot is full, there is limited additional parking at the Junior Service League park to the east. They recommend carpooling if possible, as parking is limited.