The 130 acre Three Sisters Project offers a rare opportunity to acquire and place into public ownership a strategic property that will improve access to an extremely popular non-motorized trail system, protect a scenic corridor leading to the Colorado National Monument, and provide recreational and environmental education opportunities. Read more about this in the GJ Sentinel article!
The Three Sisters property, adjacent to the Tabeguache/Lunch Loop Trail system, is just minutes from downtown and offers a gentle terrain that is perfect for hiking and biking trails for all levels, including families and kids.
The Mesa Land Trust with help from the City of Grand Junction and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association (COPMOBA) will purchase this land, develop trails, place a conservation easement on the property that will preserve it for public use, and then deed the property over to the City. Mesa Land Trust hopes to complete this acquisition in Spring of 2012.
GJ City Provides Trade Land for Three Sisters Project
On October 17th The Grand Junction City Council voted unanimously to provide a 3.5 acres parcel of land along the Riverside Parkway to help acquire the Three Sisters Property. The Land Trust will purchase the Three Sisters property for a combination of cash and this commercially zoned trade parcel. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel highlighted the importance of this in a recent editorial.
Three Sisters presents a Win-Win
Preserving Three Sisters as a public recreational area utilizes a unique opportunity to expand the Tabeguache/Lunch Loop trail system, build trails for beginner riders, extend the Colorado Riverfront Trail, promote more tourism, enhance the recreational experience of the thousands of trail users, both local and from throughout the world, and protect the viewshed along Monument Road. Trail users, local residents, tourists, and Mesa County businesses all benefit from preserving the Three Sisters.
Three Sisters as an Outdoor Classroom
As part of the Three Sisters Trail System, Mesa Land Trust wants to establish an informal outdoor educational supplement to the trails, noting rare and endangered plants, wildlife, and perhaps even dinosaur bones.
The Three Sisters property is home to native desert shrub and grass land and contains a wide variety of flowering plan and desert species. This native plant habitat supports wildlife including reptiles, birds, deer, fox, and even provides foraging ground for the peregrine falcon.
Early paleontologist, Elmer Riggs, may have roamed these lands looking for dinosaur bones. Modern local paleontologists will help the Mesa Land Trust assess this history and determine if bones can still be found on the property.
Urgency of Preserving Three Sisters
This project has exceptional urgency. The property was acquired by developers in 2004, re-zoned and approved for development in 2008 that would allow the construction of extensive infrastructure and permit up to 131 homes on this rugged and beautiful property. It is important to complete this project now because the property is available at a very good price. Acquisition of Three Sisters, if the property is even available, will be considerably more costly as the country emerges from the economic downturn.
The overall project cost is $1.6 million which includes the purchase of the land, the development of trails, and the installation of educational signs and shade structures. The Mesa Land Trust has already made great progress toward meeting this goal. Donate now to the Three Sisters Project through PayPal.