Go Play: New Riverfront Trail segment in Fruita about to open
Hikers, bikers and joggers, rejoice! The third and final segment of Fruita’s Riverfront Trail — called Monument View Trail — is set to open for public use on Friday, Sept. 5.
According to Brad Taylor, Colorado Riverfront Commission co-chair, the first of Fruita’s three trail segments — from the Blue Heron boat ramp to underneath Redlands Parkway — was completed in 2012. Then Phase 2 trail construction — from Fruita Welcome Center, going along the Frontage Road from 17 Road to 18 1/2 Road – was wrapped up last year. Now, the segment connecting the two is set to open early next month.
Greg Linza, Mesa County’s parks and landscapes manager, noted the newest section of trail spans 4.2 miles, completing an 8.4-mile stretch of Riverfront Trail. The entire Monument View Trail in Fruita cost approximately $6,799,425, with total grants received totaling $4,401,000.
“We are not encouraging use of that trail [segment] until its grand opening,” Taylor said, with small pockets of construction still happening up until then.
Work on Grand Valley’s winding Riverfront Trail System began almost three decades ago, “as land became available,” he added. Currently it spans Fruita to Clifton (with an area of disconnectivity at Grand Junction’s Los Colonias Park area). Another section of Riverfront Trail is located in Palisade near Riverbend Park. With the opening of Monument View Trail’s newest section, there will be 31 miles available for public use throughout the county.
Regarding the possibility of connecting Palisade’s Riverfront Trail section to the rest of the valley, Taylor said “that’s a crystal-ball item” dependent on “willing sellers” and legal easements through what’s currently private property.
“That’s why it may take a long time,” he explained.
The system of trails also protects and celebrates Grand Valley’s Colorado and Gunnison rivers, its natural environment (“cottonwood groves, wetlands, cattail marshes, gravel bars and islands”), as well as more than “200 different species of birds, three endangered species of fish and an abundance of small animals,” its website said.
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