Thursday, March 26, 2020

Palisade Plunge Made Significant Progress

In the past two weeks, significant progress has been made on the Palisade Plunge Trail. The work occurs outside, allowing workers to maintain safe social distancing.

However, other challenges for the work crew include Mother Nature.
In recent weeks they have battled rainy weather, steep terrain, and lengthy commutes, but isn't that what we love about living in Western Colorado? Despite the recent conditions, trail crews have managed to complete 3,220-feet of new trail.
If you've been keeping track of the mile markers, the work crew is now at trail milepost 28.7. Hearing from the work crew members, they report the terrain to create the Palisade Plunge Trail continues to get steeper and is becoming rockier and more vegetated. Work requires a lot of excavation and handwork on steep slopes to build a bench large enough to accommodate a safe width of the trail.
The daily hike for the trail crew has become over an hour and a half in each direction. To mitigate this, the trail crew has begun making use of the very activity this trail is meant to promote—mountain biking. These trail crew workers are passionate about the creation of this outdoor recreation entity, why not test it out themselves? By bringing their own mountain bikes, the crew has shortened their trail commute. Riding the trail has also allowed the crew to test it out and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it's an enjoyable ride once it opens to the public. We call this a win-win.
To date, a total of just over 12 miles of finished trail is complete, and a total of about 0.19 miles of rough-cut trail remains to be hand finished. This leaves just short of 5 miles to go before completion of Phase 1 of the Palisade Plunge Trail. Phase 2 of the trail will begin this year as weather permits.

Mesa County and other agency partners are working with Mesa County Search & Rescue (MCSAR) to craft a plan for emergency situations, including identifying helicopter landing zones and roadway access points. This has been challenging due to the remoteness of the trail and limited access points. However, this is a challenge MCSAR has managed before.

All Palisade Plunge agency partners continue to discuss sign design and content for both phases of the project. Once finalized, these signs will be installed at the predetermined locations along the trail.

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