A Palisade resident asked federal, state boards to name the jagged ridge above the town. Here’s what they’re thinking.

Home » News & Media » A Palisade resident asked federal, state boards to name the jagged ridge above the town. Here’s what they’re thinking.

A Palisade resident asked federal, state boards to name the jagged ridge above the town. Here’s what they’re thinking.

Date: 04/04/2024     Category: News & Media     Author: Jason Blevins     Publication: The Colorado Sun    

Original Post ➡️

Federal and state naming boards weigh a proposal for “Plunge Point” and “Plunge Mesa” for unnamed features above Palisade as a nod to the Palisade Plunge Trail

A resident in Palisade is asking federal and state naming boards to name the mesa and ridgeline above Palisade flanking Rapid Creek as Plunge Point and Plunge Mesa, after the Palisade Plunge Trail that descends from the Grand Mesa. (Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun / EcoFlight)

It’s been more than three years since the Palisade Plunge trail opened above Palisade. The 34-mile trail from the top of the Grand Mesa down to the Colorado River was a 10-year project, with most of those years spent uniting three federal federal land agencies, mountain bikers, private landowners and local communities. Today, the plunging trail is a crown jewel in Mesa County’s $875 million outdoor recreation economy. 

“The name ‘plunge’ should be forever associated with Palisade,” said Glenn Hayes, a longtime Palisade resident who filed a request in 2021 with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names to name prominent features above Palisade as “Plunge Point” and “Plunge Mesa.” 

The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board this week began deliberating the possible names for the jagged stone point and ridge above the Grand Valley. The federal naming board this month included the proposed name on its quarterly list of naming proposals up for consideration. 

“I’ve had lots of people ask me if there’s a name for that point,” said Hayes of the unnamed features prominently seen above Palisade. 

Hayes said the Palisade Town Council has been supportive of his proposal and he doubts there will be much controversy over the suggested name. Anna Stout, the mayor of Grand Junction and a member of the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board, told her fellow board members this week that she does not expect opposition to the Plunge Point and Plunge Mesa suggestion. The state and federal naming boards spend more time deliberating changes to names of existing geographic features, with extensive outreach to communities and tribes. 

“We certainly benefit from the tourism the Palisade Plunge brings to the area,” said Stout, who plans to solicit support from Mesa County commissioners. “We worked with multiple agencies to bring together the Palisade Plunge and it’s a great example of diverse groups working together.”

Riders descend the lower section of the Palisade Plunge, a 34-mile trail that drops 6,000 vertical feet as its winds off the Grand Mesa down to the Colorado River. (Joey Early/RockyMounts, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The outdoor recreation economy in Mesa County is flourishing, not just on the tourism side but with a growing stable of outdoor businesses in the Grand Valley. A 2022 study by researchers at Colorado Mesa University showed recreation-based tourism contributing $227.2 million to Mesa County’s economy and outdoor businesses delivering another $131.3 million. Together the $227.2 million account for 3.3% of Mesa County’s annual gross economic activity and supports 7,620 jobs. Add in the overall impact of labor income, visitors and businesses and outdoor recreation in Mesa County is an $875 million annual industry. 

Conor Hall, the head of the Colorado outdoor recreation office, said the localized Mesa County outdoor economy numbers are the only ones of their kind in the country. 

“Not to pick on the extractive industries, but that is significantly larger, both in terms of jobs and economic impact than that industry that so many people look to as the key pillar of this economy,” Hall said this week in Grand Junction at a celebration for the Grand Valley Outdoor Coalition, one of 13 outdoor recreation councils around the state. “We have to be transparent that this really is one of the major drivers of this community.”