The first annual Walking and Biking Trails Summit was held at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction on Friday.
The event ran from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Residents, businesses and experts gathered to discuss the important role trails play in the health, safety and prosperity of our community.
Coordinators designed the summit to encourage community input and involvement toward the future of our trail system, and they said more people showed up than they were expecting.
One of the main points of the summit was to come up with increased networks of trails; something organizers said will benefit the community in a number of ways.
"If we can connect...continuously, our trails, our sidewalks, our bike lanes, more people will be able to walk and bike, which makes a healthier community for all ages," said Elizabeth Collins, Co-Chair of the Urban Trails Committee.
"It also reduces traffic in our area, and the smog, which we have all come to know," added Collins.
The keynote speaker of Friday's event was Dan Burden.
Burden is the executive director and co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.
He believes that Mesa County's trail system will play a vital role in reviving the local economy.
"It is so important that all towns realize they're in competition with any other towns, even in the much greater region. And if Grand Junction is to step out in front, it's important to start to draw the jobs, to hold on to the youth, to bring in new youth, and to really give a good quality of life to every resident," said Burden.
His presentation detailed the rise of the next economy.
"Everything we're looking at in terms of economic advantage for a town to go toward building place, and building their town for people, is what's going to build the next economy," Burden said.
"The old economy is essentially dead, we gave up on it, or it gave up on us. But the new economy is going to be based on trails and greenways and open space, place, social exchange, the creative class wanting to live in towns that are ripe with just all kinds of outdoor recreation, with real town centers, with all of the life and the vitality that goes into that," he continued.
A summit planning committee, made up from a diverse network of city and county agencies, worked together for over nine months to organize Friday's Walking and Biking Trails Summit.
Coordinators were pleased with the large turnout and hope it shows promise for the future of the summit, the network of our local trails and the future of Grand Junction's economy.
For more information on the Walking and Biking Trails Summit, visit: http://www.trailsummit.com/.