Grant to fund gravel biking guide

The City of Fruita is among the latest recipients of grants promoting outdoor recreation and workforce development in that industry.

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade awarded nine grants using funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Since June, a total of more than $1.8 million has been awarded for 19 projects.

The City of Fruita received a $36,000 grant for the development of the Grand Valley Gravel Adventure Field Guide.

The City of Fruita will partner with the City of Palisade to market the Grand Valley as a destination for gravel biking enthusiasts.

The field guide will highlight gravel biking trails in Mesa County as well as other attractions, cultural heritage and history. The grant will cover research, design, illustration, printing and distribution of the guide.

In addition to promoting outdoor recreation, the grants will fund professional development for more than 200 students and workers in the industry.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation industry contributed $11.6 billion to the Colorado economy in 2021 — 2.7 percent of the overall economy.

A study conducted at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction estimated the direct economic effects of outdoor recreation in Mesa County at 4.8 percent of the total value of goods and services produced in the county.

“Across the state, the outdoor recreation industry is working to train and diversify the talented workforce that helps the industry thrive,” said Conor Hall, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “We believe it’s key to support these efforts by improving access to certifications, professional development and the hands-on experiences that lead to successful careers in this important sector of Colorado’s economy.”