Mesa Land Trust continues fundraising for Bookends land purchase | PostIndependent.com
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Mesa Land Trust continues fundraising for Bookends land purchase

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
A sign is displayed at the main Lunch Loops trail head to promote the Mesa Land Trust purchase of the Bookends in Grand Junction.
Brittany Markert / bmarkert@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

Joggers use them. As do bikers. Sometimes even horses and kids. Some travel hundreds of miles to Grand Junction just to use them. Thousands throughout the year use the trails at the Lunch Loops area.

Many people don’t know how these trails are put together, how the land was acquired or even how it is determined to be used. Mesa Land Trust has started their second project to help with expanding and protecting the land around Monument Road in Grand Junction.

“For years we only worked with farmers and ranchers to preserve their land,” Mesa Land Trust project coordinator Libby Collins said. “Before the Three Sisters project, we had never done anything like that. We only worked with properties that were never opened to the public.”



When Mesa Land Trust began raising funds for the Three Sisters project, Collins assumed to just ask businesses for donations and be done. She began to receive calls regarding the project from people excited about the proposed land purchases however. Those calls not only were regarding the project, but about other projects they were working on.

“I had no idea it would be this successful,” Collins added.



The next project Mesa Land Trust is partaking in — the Bookends — is less than $100,000 away from their goal to purchase the land for a total of $825,000. The land covers 63 acres, which hugs each end of the current Lunch Loop Trails.

Collins explains three main goals to accomplish with purchasing land that hugs the Lunch Loop Trails system. To protect the views of Monument Road, expand the Lunch Loop Trails, and facilitate an off-road multi-use path to connect downtown and the trail systems throughout the Monument Road area.

“To have a facility so accessible near downtown is a great asset,” Grand Junction resident Charlie Quimby said.

Quimby is a part-time resident of Grand Junction and owns land along the Monument Road corridor. He sees value in protecting the views along Monument Road and creating a safe environment for everyone wanting to ride up to Lunch Loops or the Colorado National Monument.

“Riding on Monument Road is intimidating and eventually I think these acquisitions will be host to a family friendly environment,” Quimby noted.

The trails are focused on being family and kid friendly to connect them to the Riverfront Trail System, the bike park at Lunch Loops, and other trails in the area.

“The north end of the Bookends is really a good thing to add to help connect directly the Riverfront trails to the Lunch Loops,” Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association coordinator, Amy Agapito said.

“And the south end of the Bookends is to keep people from building houses right on the Lunch Loops.”

MORE THAN DOLLAR SIGNS

Mesa Land Trust is in the final stretch of reaching their fundraising goal. They are asking those who use the trails to donate anything they are financially able to.

“We aren’t just looking for those big donators; we are looking for anyone to donate even just $10,” Collins said.

The donations coming in are proving that people of all levels are using the trails and appreciating the Monument Road project and the views, she added. Instead of a donation, think of it as a way to invest in Grand Valley’s outdoor experience.

One way funds were obtained was from a recent fundraiser held by Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction.

“We are a big supporter of Mesa Land Trust,” Pablo’s Pizza owner Paul Knaysi said. “They reached out to us, and we decided to hold the Bookends kickoff event on March 6.”

That event alone generated $1,300 in funds between the sales and people giving cash donations.

“It is a nice area to conserve for recreation, helps bring a lot of tourists because it helps the connection between downtown and the Lunch Loop Trails,” Knaysi said.

To donate to the Mesa Land Trust and this project, visit http://www.mesalandtrust.org/MonumentRoad.htm.


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