Southward connections |

Southward connections

Rifle, GarCo, CMC join forces to carve a trail connecting Rifle campus with Airpark

CMC Vice President and Rifle Campus Dean Tinker Duclo, city of Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist and Mayor Barb Clifton walk the new single-track dirt trail that connects the Rifle Airpark commercial and industrial park to the CMC campus in south Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

In an effort to help connect the city of Rifle and offer more trail opportunities for residents and visitors, Rifle and CMC Rifle officially opened nearly 1 mile of single-track dirt trail last week.

City of Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist said the trail idea came from a meeting with Garfield County Commissioners about providing a transportation artery to the CMC campus.

“The commissioners offered it, and we were happy to embrace it, both as recreational opportunities for staff and students, and in mild weather, a way for our students to get to campus,” CMC Vice President and Rifle Campus Dean Tinker Duclo said.

The new trail is part of a push by the city to provide more opportunities for the community to get outdoors, including the new Highland Trails on Graham Mesa.

“This is kind of a good first step  to get connected to this end of Rifle and CMC,” Lindquist said. “We see it starting as a whole south Rifle system. We can use more of the CMC property and possibly BLM property along with private property.”

The $19,000 project by Gumption Trail Works, was built through an easement from the Airpark and Garfield County just south of Airport Road.

“When we did a recreation survey a couple of years ago, the number one thing people were interested in was more trails,” Rifle Mayor Barb Clifton said. “The community is really focused on getting outdoors and enjoying the scenery, and it is such a great place to do it.”

The city will provide upkeep for the low-maintenance trail, along with the nearly 15 miles of trails in the city currently.

“That’s one of the things with these kinds of dirt trails we have focused on, the city wants to make sure anything we build, we can maintain. To build something and not maintain it doesn’t do any good,” Clifton said. “That’s one of the great things about these kinds of trails, is they really are easy to maintain, and we can do it pretty easily with the staff we have.”

Duclo hopes the trail will help continue the new culture she is implementing at the campus.

“It can definitely be a transportation option to get up here, but I also think in between classes for students and on lunch breaks for staff. We are building more of a culture of walking meetings, so I think when we have little meetings and people want to walk they will use it,” Duclo said.

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