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A Community Vision for Monument Road Vision Plan

Grand Junction, Colorado

November 2014

“I grew up in this area

and chose to remain here because of the amazing

community incredible



for outdoor recreation. I could move my company anywhere in the country

beautiful great scenery, but





out my back door, and

outdoor opportunities


are why my wife and I decided to raise our family here.�

-Ben Johnson, President, Colorado Components


onument Road:

Quality of Life, Healthy Lifestyles and Economic

Preserving the open experience of this landscape and connecting downtown Grand Junction and neighborhoods with the corridor’s existing outdoor recreation through shared-use paths enhances our quality of life and promotes local economic development.


Few locations in our country offer more incredible scenic beauty, a spectacular National Monument, riverfront paths along one of the West’s most significant rivers, and world renowned trails within only a few miles of a vibrant downtown. The Monument Road corridor that connects downtown Grand Junction to the Colorado National Monument provides tremendous opportunity for expanding safe, accessible, and enjoyable outdoor activities that draw residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds. These connections further promote family activities, healthy and active socializing, and the engagement of our younger generations in nature. Views of this iconic landscape are one of the Grand Valley’s most critical assets. Hundreds of thousands of people including local, national and international motorists and cyclists, travel Monument Road each year. A B OV E R I G H T: Th e M onum ent C o rrido r.M o num e nt Ro ad connects great amenities – Downtow n , t h e R i ve r front trail, Lunch Lo o p, C o lo rado Natio nal Monument and neighbor hoods. L E F T: Th e J o h n s o n fa m ily. Pho to by C at Maye r.




ommunity Creates a Vision for Monument Road

The open lands along Monument Road have served as a recreational destination since the early 1900s. Today, locals and people from all over the world frequent the Tabeguache/Lunch Loop trail areas. The area continues to grow in popularity, experiencing 125,000 visits in 2013.

From 2011 through 2014 almost 1000 donors joined the Mesa Land Trust in raising $2.4 million to purchase and preserve the Three Sisters and Bookends properties, adding almost 200 acres to the existing Lunch Loop Trail area and preserving critical views and natural areas along Monument Road. These donors included the City of Grand Junction, Great Outdoors Colorado, individuals, businesses, community organizations as well as foundations and trusts from around the state of Colorado.

The overwhelming support for preserving the Three Sisters and Bookends properties, as well as the growing popularity of the area prompted the Mesa Land Trust to ask what other landscapes along Monument Road should be preserved. In 2013, the Land Trust engaged Grand Valley residents in a public Visioning process that recorded the community’s recreation and conservation goals along Monument Road. The Mesa Land Trust has summarized these goals and interests in this publication.

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Exploring the Monument Corridor area

bicy cle


has been

a long time-honored

t radit ion.



C a i l a n M cKi m , 8 years old, l ea r n s t o r i d e his new mountain bike on one of the first

fa m i l y

fr i en d l y

trails at Three Sisters. His dad, Christopher McKim stands

p r ou d l y


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Consensus Emerges

We heard tremendous support for protecting the landscapes along Monument Road and for developing the corridor as a natural and recreational economic driver that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. The participants in this public process included residents who drive along Monument Road every day to and from work, road cyclists who value the open scenery along Monument Road, trail and open space users, local businesses who understand the value of recreation and scenic beauty as an important economic driver, senior residents who used to experience the landscape as the wilderness in their own backyards, Glade Park residents, parents with young children, high school age runners and bikers, retirees, downtown shop and restaurant owners, and more. The support for protecting and thoughtfully developing lands along Monument Road is demonstrated by three important indicators: 1. The growing number of trail users at the Lunch Loop/Three Sisters trail systems (a fourfold increase in 5 years) and use continues to expand. 2. The enormous community support for purchasing Three Sisters through over 700 financial contributors and significant volunteer support to build and maintain trails and steward the property. 3. The overwhelming participation in this Vision by diverse individuals representing local businesses and industry, the medical community, local government, families, youth, landowners, neighbors, and more.



“ W e b e lie v e at

A lp in e Ban k th at

ssu u p p oorr ti nngg h ealth y lif e style s an d o u td o o r r ecr eatio n

s tr o str on ng aan n d h e aall th thyy co m m u n i ty comm ty..”” cr eates a

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ommunity Values

What We Heard:



Responsibility to all Generations

of our cultural and scenic heritage.

Working with private property owners, providing incentive based voluntary tools that achieve landowner goals, respect private property rights and meet conservation milestones.

Ensuring opportunities to enjoy and recreate outdoors for all ages and future generations.


Working with public officials, private property owners and partners to build a stronger and healthier community.

LEFT: Alpine Bank’s Carolee Hawkins (Public Communications Director) and Clay Tufly (Regional President) celebrating the Bookends acquisition with Colorado Plateau’s Mountain Bike Trail Association’s President, Scott Winans.




connecting people t o n a t u r e a n d t o e ach o the r. T he y s erv e as a place to gather, socialize, and enjoy h ea l t h y l i fes ty le s . T he e xperie nce o f trav ers ing the landscapes along Monument Roa d , eit h er on foo t o r b i k e as generations hav e do ne before us is part of our cultural a n d p u b l i c o pen s pace build healthy co m munities by

her it a g e t ha t d efi n es a w a y o f lif e in the Grand V alle y . C o nnecting with one another in those nat u r al su r r ou n d i n g s a n d w orking to g e the r to pre s erv e o ur heritage

s ense of community. 10 | P a g e

strengthens our

FOUR Initiatives: What We Heard:





open space.


more land for public


m o r e t r a i l s f o r b i k i n g , hiking, and walking.

III . P r e s e r v e


views and

I V . Connect

b i k e p a t h s , t r a i l s , the Riverfront Trail, downtown G r a n d J u n c t i o n , a n d neighborhoods.

LEFT: The grand opening for the Three Sisters Park and trails drew large crowds of local residents and supporters. R I G H T: Marta Morris, Palisade High School junior and Eric Pipkin, Grand Junction High School Senior, avid riders and competitors out on the Lunch Loop/Three Sisters Trails. Photo by Cat Mayer.


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I. P r o t e c t . . . More land for public open space. Local residents define our enviable quality of life in many different ways, including opportunities for easily accessible outdoor recreation. The ability to walk and bike throughout one’s community and to recreate in safe and accessible outdoor areas raises perceptions of livability and healthy lifestyle opportunities.

II . B u i l d . . . More trails for biking, hiking, and walking will expand the capacity of an already popular trail area and preserve the experience of trail users. The Mesa County Health Department has identified trails as one of five priority areas to improve community health and is currently collaborating with the Mesa Land Trust and other trail based organizations to create safe and accessible opportunities. These opportunitiers are focused on getting people and kids out of cars and reducing barriers to exercise so that they can enjoy fresh air and nature (Healthy Mesa County Initiative, Mesa County Health Department, 2012). LEFT: Robb Reece, resident o f Gra n d J u n cti o n fo r 2 0 ye a rs , o rga n i zes a ki d s r u n n i n g gro u p to get kids out enjoying the o u td o o rs . Photo by Cat Mayer. RIG HT: David Withers, ow n e r o f D es e r t Rat To u rs , ta ke s l o ca l ki d s a n d v i s i to rs m o u nta i n

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bike riding.

III . P r e s e r v e V i e w s a n d L a n d s c a p e s

The Monument Road Corridor is the gateway to the Colorado National Monument as well as the scenic viewshed for over 50 miles of trails at Lunch Loop and Three Sisters areas. The spectacular scenery featuring wide open spaces and sandstone canyons continues to inspire locals to preserve views that enhance daily lives, whether recreating or simply driving along Monument Road. Preserving the wild beauty of these lands is essential for continued visitation to the Monument and enjoyment of those trails.


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I V. C o n n e c t . . .

bike paths, trails, the Riverfront Trail, downtown Grand Junction, and neighborhoods with a shared-use path accompanied by safe crossings.

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“A Redlands Loop”... Imagine riding your bike or walking along a loop made possible by a Monument Road path connection. Riverside T il ra

Bl u

D riv e



S. Rim

r o n Section



S. B






n Trail

Red l a n d s L o o p Connect to Colorado River Trail & Downtown






p Ro



rs i


Tra il


Road ment nu Mo


Connect to Colorado National Monument

City of Grand Junction Property




Tabegua c he

Existing Shared Use Path Potential Shared Use Path Trailhead

USA Federal Lands

Bureau of Land Management National Park Service






1 Miles


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Implementation and a Call To Action Through the Vision for Monument Road, the community has voiced a mandate to protect views, preserve open space, and enhance trail and path connectivity. To make this Vision a reality: 1. The Mesa Land Trust will: • Identify willing landowners and developers who are interested in strategizing about protecting view sheds, maximizing trail connectivity and open space. • Provide landowners and developers incentives to meet the community’s vision. • Partner with developers and other private property owners to achieve development, recreation, and conservation goals. 2. The Mesa Land Trust will partner with local government and other entities to: • Continue to invest in land and trail right-of-way acquisitions along Monument Road. • Assist in determining a long term financing strategy for path connectivity and public open space development. • Assess the public benefit of expanding trail areas and providing improvements to City owned properties along Monument Road. • Recognize Monument Road’s trail infrastructure and connectivity as a critical draw for tourism and a professional workforce for the Grand Valley. 3. As a community, we need to envision walkable and bikeable landscapes along Monument Road, invest our time and resources in support of active outdoor lifestyles, and support preserving the views that are important to us and our future generations.

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“We owe the existence of the Lunch Loop and Three Sisters trail systems to the amazing community of mountain bikers, trail builders, and trail advocates.” - Mesa Land Trust A BOV E : D av i d L i v i n g sto n, H illto p Yo uth C rew ; C hris Pipkin, BLM; Kristina Kittleson, COPMOBA Single Track Sisters; Dave G rossman , Gra n d Va l l ey Tra i l s A l l i a n ce ; S teve Go o d n i ght, En d o h o l i c a n d t ra i l vol u nte er ; J o h n H owe , Endo ho lic and trail vo luntee r; Jen Taylor-Muhr, COP MOBA and volunteer ex traordinaire; Chr is Muhr, COPMOBA . Ph o to by C at Maye r.


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Role of the Mesa Land Trust

Since 1980 the Mesa Land Trust has collaborated with landowners to support our community through preserving local agriculture and ranch lands, protecting wildlife habitat, and promoting scenic public open space. This Community Vision for Monument Road provides overarching goals that the Mesa Land Trust will help achieve over time. The acquisition of the Three Sisters and the Bookends properties garnered tremendous support and represent critical first steps in implementing the Monument Road Vision. The Mesa Land Trust will continue to pursue the community’s Vision by advocating for land protection with our City’s and County’s elected officials, working collaboratively with landowners and developers, facilitating land acquisition and trail design, and encouraging community collaboration that maximizes impact.

Preserving Heritage and Growing Dreams

In just over 3 years, the Mesa Land Trust has spearheaded two separate capital campaigns to raise over 2.3 million to protect almost 200 acres of pristine landscape along Monument Road that has become accessible public open space, enjoyed by many. In 2012, the Mesa Land Trust purchased the Three Sisters, in 2014 the Land Trust purchased the Bookends. Today these three parcels form the Three Sisters Park, public land owned by the City of Grand Junction with conservation easements that ensure the land will forever serve the public for trail based recreation.

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“We at Grand Junction Subaru are proud supporters of conserved landscapes and trails that are so important to our customers.�

- Ron

Bubar, Owner of Grand

Junction Subaru with Dr. Bill Findlay and wife Jane, avid trail users on the Three Sisters and Lunch Loop trails.


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Now is the time to preserve our views, our lands, our way of life.

Support the Vision!

This Vision was supported by the Gates Family Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program


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Profile for mesalandtrust

A Community Vision for Monument Road  

A Community Vision for Monument Road