Business support sought for trailhead improvements

The Lunch Loop trail system in Grand Junction offers a popular venue for mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts as well as runners and those walking their dogs. Improvements are planned for the trailhead, including three shade shelters. (Photo courtesy Colorado West Land Trust)
The Lunch Loop trail system in Grand Junction offers a popular venue for mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts as well as runners and those walking their dogs. Improvements are planned for the trailhead, including three shade shelters. (Photo courtesy Colorado West Land Trust)

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Libby Collins hopes to once again enlist the support of businesses, this time to improve a popular biking and hiking area in Grand Junction.

It’s a logical fit given the growing role of outdoor recreation in the Grand Valley economy, said Collins, manager of community engagement with the Colorado West Land Trust. “Businesses recognize the importance of trails and outdoor recreation to our local economy.”

Colorado West Land Trust has launched a campaign to raise $40,000 to improve the Lunch Loop trailhead on Monument Road.

Collins hopes to find business sponsors at a variety of financial levels. But other contributions and grassroots efforts by businesses and individuals also are welcome, she said. “I want to engage as many people as I can in this campaign.”

No Coast Sushi in Grand Junction kicked off what’s been dubbed the Trailhead Redesign and Improvements at Lunch Loop (THRILL) campaign. The restaurant  donated
20 percent of the proceeds from the sale of food, beverages, gift certificates and gear for a day — a contribution of about $1,300.

The improvements at the Lunch Loop trailhead will include three shade structures, seating and tailgate areas, a new informational kiosk and relocation of the main trail access to the back of the parking lot to improve safety, Collins said.

The work will coincide with the construction of a 1.5-mile paved trail that will connect the Colorado River Trail near downtown Grand Junction to the Lunch Loop and nearby Three Sisters trail systems.

Construction on the connector trail, a $2.5 million project, is scheduled to begin in April. The trail and trailhead improvements should be completed this fall, Collins said.

Shade shelters ranked among the top priorities for those who participated in public meetings and focus groups to discuss trailhead improvements, Collins said.

Libby Collins
Libby Collins

At the same time, though, it was clear those people want shelters that fit into the natural landscape there rather than detract from it, Collins said. Three smaller shelters specifically designed for the trailhead will be manufactured locally, she said.

The Lunch Loop system offers a popular venue for mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts as well runners and those walking their dogs. There’s also a bike park just off the trailhead. By one estimate, the Lunch Loop system accounts for 120,000 user days a year, Collins said. A user day equates to one person participating in a recreational activity at a given location in a 24-hour period.

The system is unique, Collins said, in offering a wildland outdoor experience just minutes away from an urban area. The connector trail will make the area even more accessible.

The Lunch Loop is especially popular among residents, but also attracts tourists, Collins said. In addition, the availability and proximity of outdoor recreation is seen as a draw for young professionals considering relocating to the Grand Valley, she said.

Businesses that purchase sponsorships through the THRILL campaign will be recognized on a sign or plaque on the shade shelters as well as press and social media materials distributed by the Colorado West Land Trust. Representatives from business sponsors also will be invited to participate in a ribbon cutting for the shelters this fall, Collins said. Other recognitions also are planned for the Colorado West Land Trust annual open house and spring picnic.

Collins said she’s grateful for the ongoing business support of the land trust and its mission to protect and conserve agricultural, recreational and scenic lands in Western Colorado.”All those folks want to make this a better place.”

For more information about supporting improvements at the Lunch Loop trailhead, visit https://.cowestlandtrust.org or contact Libby Collins at 263-5433 or libby@cowestlandtrust.org.