MONTE VISTA — At Thursday’s Monte Vista City Council meeting, Patrick Ortiz the operations director for local non-profit San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (SLVGO) presented information about their, “Wetlands Trail Project.”
The new trail will be located off Chico Camino, in the area beyond Big R, and SLV Federal Bank. Ortiz explained that this area was used as pasture for grazing.
“But it’s City property so the goal is to utilize the Monte Vista lateral one ditch which people already walk on or ride their bikes on, all the way to the city boundary and then what we are going to build is essentially build up a trail, and kind of create our own levy, if you will, to complete that loop. To provide 1.5-mile complete trail with a short connector from the end of Chico Camino,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz also shared that they are talking of putting in a parking lot at the end of Chico Camino so they will be able to stage their equipment, materials, and it could also be used as a public parking space in the future for the trail. Ortiz also described some of the benefits the trail will bring to the area.
“One of the big things with trails is that these neighborhoods here, the property values will go up with a legitimized trail next to it. It also provides value added tourism, for visitors that come,” he said.
Ortiz also shared some history on how the project started telling the council that it started with a meeting SLVGO had with a few people in the community. These community members included John Camponeschi, Tom Tichy, Jenny Nehring, City Manager Forrest Neuerburg, and Monte Vista City’s Recreation Director Jaime Hurtado.
“(Meeting) About this idea about how we could provide a trail for the community. And look at other areas in Monte Vista, where there’s public land that can be activated with the trails,” explained Ortiz. “Then we went to GOCO which is ‘Great Outdoors Colorado,’ and we successfully got a grant for resilient communities. These funds are left over lottery funds, so we were able to get three projects funded with that grant.”
Ortiz said that the Wetlands trail was one of the three projects.
Ortiz told the council that he is in contact with the ditch owner to work out ways for him to continue to have maintenance on his ditch.
“The goal is to provide an interpretative sign there and tell them why this happens, the history of the ditch, and why sometimes it will be closed for a couple of weeks out of the year,” said Ortiz. “But you call still access the larger portions that are along the ditch road there.”
Later in his presentation Ortiz also told the council that the intended use for this trail will be non-motorized. The trail will accommodate people running, people walking their dogs, or riding bikes, and getting out to enjoy the views of wildlife, and the surrounding area.
During his presentation Ortiz was asked by Councilor Gary Johnson what the timeframe for this new trail will look like.
Ortiz answered saying, “I think July is what we’re looking at once the water is kind of receded. Then we can get in there.”
Ortiz also shared with the council that another large piece of what they do at SLVGO is to help children get outside and enjoy nature.
“There’s multiple studies out there that show that kids are getting outside less because of more screen time. They’re in school more and they’re on their screens when they’re at home as well,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz said that the non-profit group is part of the SLV Generation Wild Coalition. They along with eight other partner organizations work together to create programming all the all the way from Elementary age students through college. They work with the Adams State University adventure program. They also provide outdoor adventure camps during the summer for elementary, middle school, and high school ages.
Over the course of his presentation Ortiz also shared some of SLVGO’s mission saying, “SLVGO’s mission is to provide residents and visitors throughout the San Luis Valley accessible and inclusive outdoor recreation opportunities that connect communities, improve wellness, encourage stewardship and contribute to the economic vitality of the region.”
For more information about SLVGO and its project, visit its website https://slvgo.com/about/, or its Facebook and Instagram pages.