Groups, City of MV dedicate wetlands trail to Ray and Colette Skeff

Photos by Brian Williams A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ray and Colette Skeff Nature Trail in Monte Vista was held on Thursday, March 31. The trail is in the area behind Big R and SLV Federal Bank off Chico Camino. 

Ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday, March 31

MONTE VISTA — It was a picture-perfect day for a walk on the newly christened Ray and Colette Skeff Nature Trail.  

More than 100 people watched as Ray Skeff cut the ceremonial ribbon with his wife, Colette, beaming with pride by his side Thursday, March 31, at the trailhead off Chico Camino.  

“Ray and I, we want to thank you,” said Colette, her voice breaking due to the emotion of the moment. “We are grateful to San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, the GOCO, and the City of Monte Vista for this special ceremony today.  

“It is an honor to have this wetland trail named the Ray and Colette Skeff Nature Trail,” she said as she and Ray stood in front of the large trail signage.  

The mile-long Monte Vista wetlands trail loops through a grassy, formerly grazed pasture off U.S. 160 through town. The trail for walking and bicycling is in the area behind Big R, and SLV Federal Bank.  

It was built in partnership with San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, Great Outdoors Colorado, and the City of Monte Vista and dedicated to the Skeffs in honor of their commitment to Monte Vista.  

“Dedicated to Ray and Colette Skeff for their selfless leadership, devotion, and numerous benefactions that enrich the cultural vigor, beauty and serenity of the Monte Vista community,” said Mick Daniel, SLV GO executive director. “Congratulations.”  

The Monte Vista trail is the last of a three-part mission funded by Great Outdoors Colorado. First with money from the lottery-funded agency's Resilient Communities Program — grants given to certain locales during the 2020 pandemic — crews built a 1.3-mile trail around a pond in Alamosa. Next, a 96-foot boardwalk was built as part of an expanding trail network at Alamosa City Ranch.  

The MV trail began with a few people in the community showing interest, including John Camponeshi, Monte Vista City Recreation Director Jaime Hurtado, and former City Manager Forrest Neuerburg. The trail proposal was presented to the Monte Vista City Council on March 4, 2021. 

Many locations were considered before choosing the area off Chico Camino.  

“This one particular area, this wetlands area, it just caught our interest,” Daniel said. “This intersection between rural and the town."   

It was completed in the late fall of 2021. 

“I've come out and stopped and people are using this trail,” Daniel said. “You don't always know what starts a community's growth right, but what if it is a trail.A trail is an opportunity for people to come together. You meet your neighbors out for a walk with the dogs and their kids in this outdoor place. And we know for a fact that being outside is a healthy thing. Even on cold days with a little bit of wind. The views from this spot are just incredible and it's quiet. This really just became a perfect location for it.”  

GOCO has invested over $10.4 million in Rio Grande County, and it has helped preserve over 9,400 acres of land.  

“Without GOCO and the funding and their vision, they allow us to put these things in that make for healthy communities,” Daniel said.  

Estrella Woods, GOCO Southwest Program officer, David Cockrell, GOCO board member, and Mayor Dale Becker spoke during the ceremony. Becker presented a plaque to the Skeffs memorializing the event.  

Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis spoke of the impact of the Skeffs.  

“They have vested themselves in thousands of community hours donated countless dollars and have been a pillar to lean on when our community needed a hand up,” Dennis said. “This is so exciting to share this moment with them. Dedicate a nature trail that will be part of our community like the Skeffs have been for decades to come.”  

Dennis concluded her comments with a quote from Carrie Latet.  

“Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the most modern exercise,” she said. “So, come and enjoy a walk in Monte Vista.” 

Photos by Brian Williams A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ray and Colette Skeff Nature Trail in Monte Vista was held on Thursday, March 31. The trail is in the area behind Big R and SLV Federal Bank off Chico Camino. 


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