I moved to Grand Junction, Colo. 12 years ago --I know, get out transplant-- and when I first arrived, I wondered how the city utilized the river.

I was shocked to learn that the river wasn't as utilized as many other "river" towns in Colorado. I asked a coworker at the time where people enjoyed the river and was told the river was dangerous and to stay away.

Coming from Michigan, I totally understood the dangers of water as a whole. I fully respect the power and threat of water and enjoy it at my own risk.

Grand Junction, Colorado's Abuse of the Colorado River Throughout the Years

Watson Island Grand Junction Junkyard

What shocked me the most was learning that Grand Junction used to use the area that is now Watson Island as a dump.

What?! A town in the "desert" didn't respect a resource as finite of water that flows through its backyard. That's insane. Why would anyone think dumping old cars and other pollutants is a good idea?

Watson Island Grand Junction Cleanup

Eventually, though, the junk on Watson Island was cleaned up in the late 80s. This made for a wonderful place to enjoy the Colorado River for what it is. Including the addition of the disc golf course which is regularly used by residents.

Grand Junction, Colorado's Eventual Love of the Colorado River Emerges

Some Grand Junction and western Colorado residents have always recreated on the waters flowing through the Grand Valley, enjoying fishing, rafting, kayaking, and other watersports.

In recent years, we've seen the emergence of standup paddleboarding rentals pop up along the river. A new rafting retail store opened after the original shop closed. Along with a new river access site at Las Colonias and improvements to the 24 Road access site.

Grand Junction finally seems to embrace the wonderful resource in its midst.

More Improvements to the Colorado River Corridor Keep Coming

One of the first major updates to the Colorado River corridor was the improvements to Las Colonias Park. This was a welcomed addition to the construction of the amphitheater, the "lazy river" water park, and little ponds pepper throughout the park.

To add more fun and use, an RV park was added along with the debut of the Bonzai Designs zipline. The area has become a go-to destination for area families.

Now, big improvements coming to the Dos Rios area. They first added the family-friendly bike park where both experienced and newbies can hone their mountain biking skills.

That's just the beginning of what's to come. One Riverfront just shared a post to social media highlighting the plans for major development of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers area.

I, for one, am excited to see where the City of Grand Junction takes the river corridor in the future. It's surely a much-needed improvement for the city.

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