Monte Vista Wetlands Trail is officially open

Courtesy photos

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista Wetlands Trail is officially open. The trail, located behind Big R in Monte Vista, is a new place for people to walk, run or stroll.

Operations Director for The San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, Patrick Ortiz is excited about the trail opening.

“This is a great trail for the community,” he said. “I think the community is really going to enjoy this. What is really nice about the trail is it’s away from traffic, and it also has an easy access point.” 

The trail was originally presented to City Council members on March 4 by Ortiz. Ortiz shared with City Council members that the idea for the trail started with a few people in the community showing interest, including John Camponeschi, Tom Tichy, Jenny Nehring, City Manager at the time, Forrest Neuerburg, and Monte Vista City Recreation Director Jaime Hurtado.

“The idea between the community members was how we could provide a trail for the community,” Ortis said. “Together we looked at areas in Monte Vista where public land could be activated with trails. Then we looked at GOCO which is ‘Great Outdoors Colorado,’ and we successfully obtained a grant for resilient communities. These funds were leftover lottery funds, so we were able to get three projects funded with that grant.”

Ortiz stated that after looking into trails, the new trail would be located off Chico Camino, in the area located behind Big R, and the San Luis Valley Federal Bank. Ortiz stated that the area had been used for pasture and for grazing, Ortiz informed the council how he had been in contact with the ditch owner though, to work out ways for him to continue to have maintenance done on his ditch, despite the trail.

Ortiz also explained that the trail would have an interpretative sign on it, with a history of the ditch, and why sometimes the trail will be closed for a couple of weeks out of the year. Oritz said, “But there will still be access to the larger portions of the trail that are along the ditch road there.”   

Ortiz also said to council members that his intention was for the trail to 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,” he said.

Ortiz also shared with council members that it was important to SLVGO to also help children get outside and enjoy nature more.

“This is really another goal of our project,” Ortiz said. “Children are getting outside less because of more screen time.”

Although it did take a little longer than the timeline that was originally projected, Oritz is enthusiastic about the opening of the trail. It was initially scheduled to be completed in July.

“It was a big project, and we had some great people working on this project and getting it done for the community,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz thanked everyone behind the project, including the San Luis Valley Great Outdoors Action Team also known as SLV Goats, the Southwest Conservation Core Los Valles, and the Rio Grande County Youth Corp.

“I helped get them funding and also did the planning, but these crews, wow, I just want to give a shout out to them for all the great hard work that they did to start and finish this trail,” he said.

For more information on the Monte Vista Wetlands Trail, visit the SLV Great Outdoors Facebook page.

Courtesy photos