GRAND JUNCTION — Perched on basalt boulders at the end of a path freshly carved through a jungle of scrub oak, Scott Winans is as close as ever to a 10-year goal that promises to highlight the recreational assets of his Grand Valley home turf.
“It’s been a lot of work to get here. A lot of work,” he said, plunging his face into the icy Whitewater Creek tumbling off the Grand Mesa. “Sometimes I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”
For more than a decade, Winans and a small band of outdoor recreation advocates in Mesa County have worked on an audacious plan for a 33.6-mile trail plummeting 6,000 vertical feet from the top of Grand Mesa to the Colorado River in Palisade. The Palisade Plunge trail project corrals three federal agencies, three municipalities, landowners, water districts, ranchers and hunters under a single banner, marking a coalition of Western Slope residents about as diverse as can be assembled.
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