Palisade Plunge Multiple-Use Trail Proposal

We have a new idea

The non-motorized Palisade Plunge Trail concept has been included in the Governor’s “16 in 2016” trails initiative.   We are certain that a multiple-use trail, open to off road motorcycle riders, mountain bikers, and hikers is the best management scenario for such a trail and it is a more prudent use of public funds. Presented here is a different proposal that uses the same trail beginning and end, but it is located in more sustainable terrain and is more suitable for multiple-use.

Multiple-use trail brings more economic benefits to the communities

Mesa County and in particular the Town of Palisade have been heavily affected by the recession of 2008 and the subsequent and current decline in energy prices.  The result is a stagnant economy in the region.  One way to overcome a portion of this situation is to encourage the tourism economy.  Creating new multiple use recreation trail opportunities is a proven method of boosting the local economy of rural areas with a steady source of income that is not significantly affected by the overall economy.

The economic benefits from the tourism economy are well documented is several recent studies and plans.  The acceptance of motorized and non motorized users would greatly increase the number of visitors and increase the economic benefits to the communities.

This trail will be a big attraction. Single track trails are the premiere opportunity for many forms of outdoor recreation.  Long distance single track trails are rare and sought after by motorized and non motorized enthusiasts.  The proposed trail would be about 30 miles long.  This is an all day opportunity for all single track enthusiasts.  For back packers it would provide a multi day hike and remote camping opportunity.

Where the new trail will be located

The proposed trail location shown on the attached map is preliminary and subject to ground-truthing for issues that will require minor relocation.  In some locations the route will use existing motorized routes.

The highest point of the proposed trail is at the Mesa Top trailhead just off of State Highway 65, which already has ample paved parking and restroom facilities.  A newly constructed portion of trail begins at the trailhead and goes about 2 miles south west to road 109.  The trail continues southwest (south of FR100) and turns north crosses 105 east of Anderson Reservoir #2.  The trail continues west along the rim edge heading south to cross 105 at the Forest boundary.  This portion of the trail is about 10 miles long.  The location will be kept in the wooded sections wherever possible to avoid the riparian areas.  The trail will be constructed to a nominal width of 24 inches.  At this point the trail is near the intersection of FR100 and FR105 (Lands End Road).  The trail then descends on a short section of FR 150 (less than a mile).  At this location the trail uses a section of Basin Trail (700) and crosses into BLM managed public land.  At the boundary, Basin Trail becomes a BLM primitive road.  The trail proceeds north toward Horse Mountain using BLM routes O293, O1142, O1219, O308, and O244.  The location of a suitable route and a trailhead facility will need to be determined cooperatively with the Town and BLM.

Environmental controls

The proposed trail is on federally owned lands managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of land Management.  All proposed trails will have to be analyzed using the NEPA process prior to construction.  This analysis assures that the final route will be built with safety, sustainability and environmental impact concerns resolved.

The experience

This spectacular trail begins on top of the Grand Mesa, and descends 6000 feet to the valley floor. The traveler will experience the whole variety of ecosystems from the alpine mesa top, through all the ecological transitional zones, to the desert.   A portion of the trail parallels West Bench, with spectacular vistas overlooking the Powderhorn ski resort.

In conclusion

We insist that the Plunge Trail be multiple-use in order to benefit the greatest number of visitors and bring the greatest benefits to the community.

Motorcycle Trail Riding Association
P.O. Box 4119
Grand Junction CO

Bookcliff Rattlers Motorcycle Club
P.O. Box 666
Friuta CO 81521

Trails Preservation Alliance
P.O. Box 38093
Colorado Springs CO 80937