CMU study says local trail system adds $14.6 million annually to the local economy.

I knew the mountain biking thing was a big deal around here however, I was shocked to see just how much revenue the sport means to Mesa County. Lunch Loops, Kokopelli and 18 Road trails alone account for almost $14.6 million in annual revenue. That's according to a recent study by researchers at Colorado Mesa University.

The study entitled "Grand Valley Public Trails Systems Socio-Economic Study," broke down how the local mountain bike trails benefit the area financially and also digs into just who uses the trails. When visitors where asked their thoughts on the trail system nearly all gave them a big thumbs up. The only thing they would change if they could would be the addition of more trails.

340 trails users were surveyed with nearly 70% visiting from outside Mesa County. The survey took place during six weeks from April through early June 2017. The Lunch Loops trails are most popular with local residents with about half the riders being local. In contrast, more than 80% of the users surveyed at the 18 Road and Kokopelli trails were visiting from outside of Mesa County.

It's good to know the true value of the local trail system and the study confirms what most had believed that these systems are a huge asset to Grand Junction and the surrounding communities. "It's nice to have the confirmation that (trails) truly are a huge impact on the valley," said Chris Muhr, a board member of COPMOBA who helped construct the trails back in 1996. This volunteer organization builds and maintains the trails through their five chapters across western Colorado.