40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Land Trust transfers Jurassic Flats open space to city

Sept. 10th Daily Sentinel, by Dan West

The 16-acre parcel of conserved open space called Jurassic Flats on the Redlands was officially transferred from the Colorado West Land Trust to the city of Grand Junction last week.

The parcel at the northwest corner of Monument and South Camp roads is used informally by hikers and was purchased by the Colorado West Land Trust last year. Last fall, the city signed a lease agreement for the parcel.

“Our parks and recreation system has many strengths, and thanks to the tremendous efforts of our partner, the Colorado West Land Trust, the critical open space piece of the puzzle continues to grow stronger,” Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Director Ken Sherbenou said in a statement. “This further establishes Grand Junction as an even more desirable place to live with a high quality of life.”

The parcel was named Jurassic Flats for its proximity to Riggs Hill and other paleontological locations by George Callison, an accomplished paleontologist and artist who lives in the area, according to the Land Trust.

It will remain mostly conserved as open space and will preserve views of Colorado National Monument from Monument Road. A trail head and parking will be constructed for road cyclists and hikers. Once the next phase of the paved Monument Connector Trail is constructed, it will provide easy access from Jurassic Flats to the Lunch Loops as it connects to the South Camp paved trail.

“Thanks to the generosity of a community member, the Land Trust is delighted to be able to conserve this property as a public park and give the land to the city,” Colorado West Land Trust Executive Director Rob Bleiberg said. “This is a wonderful addition to the network of open space and trails along Monument Road that will benefit the community today and generations that follow.”

According to the Land Trust’s release, neighbors and those who recreate in the area had long sought to conserve this piece of property. Due to its location, the land had a high value as a potential residential or commercial development. Bill Haggerty, a neighboring homeowner, said he was glad to see the property conserved.

“I am grateful to the previous landowner of 30 years for his willingness to share this great open space with his neighbors, like me,” Haggerty said in a statement. “I am now extremely grateful for the Land Trust that secured this property as open space forever. Its value is so much more than intrinsic.”