Grand Valley Canyons News

Grand Valley Canyons

Palisade Plunge Update

March 14, 2016
Activity on the Palisade Plunge project has continued over the past few weeks, including multiple meetings with the Town of Palisade (TOP) Trustees & staff, the Palisade Chamber of Commerce business and pubic, Mesa County commissioners, and the City of Grand Junction.

First - The Concept Paper was submitted by TOP to GOCO for consideration by the March 8 deadline.
Immediate needs were to obtain the necessary understanding of the proposed project by the TOP, and to work through an organizational structure which could pursue the funding option that was present via the state level "16 in 2016" program and GOCO. The TOP took on the lead position for the funding opportunity (it could only be a municipality, a county, or a unique type of special parks & rec district), and we obtained interim financial support from the City of GJ and Mesa County. Each partners committed to provide Quick read more or view full article $100K of funding, to be reimbursed, to support the project activities. GOCO will decide by roughly the first week of April from which concepts they will request a formal grant application. That grant, if awarded, would be available in Oct-Nov 2016 timeframe.

Several issues remain to be addressed in the overall project planning. During discussions with the TOP & partners, the TOP chose to make the terminus of the trail in the town of Palisade. This is to maximize the economic impact of the trail. This requirement created a subsequent concept of creating a bike path from the anticipated trail endpoint near the current Palisade Rim parking area, along North River Road to the town center. The N. River Road project itself adds an estimated $800K to the initial $500K budget concept. And additional funding stream opportunities are identified by the TOP to help support this additional cost. Those opportunities are not secure and must be pursued as well.

In addition, some interests are opposed to the initial concept of utilizing the lower portion of Rapid Creek Rd as an end portion of the route. While more than one route option was considered at the conception of the Plunge, the effort will be made again to review all viable physical options to exit the mid elevations of the Mesa to the valley floor. Various challenges are associated with every option available, including but not limited to:
- terrain less suited to high quality trail experience (extremely rocky, flat, remote, more climbing, etc)
- shorter total mileage options
- very challenging routing through some optional areas (steep slopes, etc)
- routing from actual trail endpoint to town center (available access, road type, typical use, etc)
- private property limitations

Throughout this review, it's very important to maintain a necessary focus on maximum quality of ride experience. If this route doesn't make riders absolutely want to return with all of their ride friends, then we miss our mark. There is no Do-Over with an effort such as this.

Route planning continues with the chapter committee, and coordination meetings with the partners will occur over the coming weeks.

- Scott Winans Read Less
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