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Vision & Goals

Our Task Force has been meeting for almost a year to plan efforts to enhance and protect the Old Spanish Trail and the Gunnison River Bluffs areas. Our Task Force is represented by:

Mesa County, the City of Grand Junction, the Grand Junction Office of the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Grand Junction Riverfront Commission, the Mesa County Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association, and Orchard Mesa Neighbors in Action.

Our Vision: A managed and sustainable trail experience for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians that links the history of the Old Spanish Trail and celebrates the natural beauty of the Gunnison River Bluffs area for educational and recreational opportunities!

Goals
1) Energize the community around the preservation, conservation and use of the trails and the associated public lands.
2) Solidify our community around the idea of preserving and conserving the trails not only to preserve the history and heritage involved, but to also leave this important recreation amenity for future generations.
3) Develop priorities, strategies and implementation steps that move the large undeveloped private land holdings in the area in question into public owner ship or conservation easement so that dense development does not encroach on the character of the trails as they exist today.
4) Ensure that legal methods are explored, developed and taken to their full extent to protect the legal ROW of the trails in Mesa County.
5) Develop new ideas and opportunities for developing a properly located trail head for the north end of the Old Spanish Trail south of U.S. highway 50 in the Orchard Mesa area of Grand Junction. Further develop acquisition strategies and development alternatives for the trailhead.
6) Develop plans and implementation strategies for interpretive signage for the trails. Develop a marketing approach to increase the awareness, history and use of the trails.
7) Identify and establish opportunities to take advantage of prescriptive rights to ROW that have not been protected for the public.
8) Develop the vision of what these trails want to be when they “mature” and who they want to serve.
9) Develop a planning anchor providing for the use of the trails, while also allowing the expansion of Mesa County’s solid waste facility in the same area.
10) Identify a preferred route, or routes, from the OST Trailhead on Orchard Mesa to the Riverfront Trail along the Colorado River.
11) Work collaboratively to connect trails with the Dominguez-Escalante NCA and Delta County in the future.

The Old Spanish Trail and Gunnison River Bluffs areas have been largely maintained by volunteers, with assistance from our partners such as the BLM and Mesa County. But like any well-used area, the trails are showing their age and our committee recognizes that some "heavy lifting" needs to happen. Here are a few pictures showing some of the ares that need the most help. Photos by Rod Martinez.

  • Improved signage is an important goal
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • The Orchard Mesa side of the Sister Trails takes visitors through a residential area
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • One of the critical areas of concern
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • This culvert has eroded and has seriously compromised public access
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • Damage to the trail
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • Vandalism and illegal dumping is always a concern
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • Volunteers will attempt to clean this up
    Photo by Rod Martinez
  • "Tagging" isn't always on buildings
    Photo by Rod Martinez
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