ASPEN - Two members of the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board of Trustees pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to the marking of a trail leading onto a parcel that is the subject of a controversial land swap.
Anne Rickenbaugh and Hawk Greenway appeared in Federal Court in Grand Junction, represented by local attorney Rick Neiley, Rickenbaugh said. Neiley is a former member of the open space board. A two-day trial is scheduled for March, she said.
The duo, acting as private citizens rather than in their capacity as open space board members, mapped out a route onto Bureau of Land Management property at the base of Mount Sopris near Carbondale last summer. Their goal was to determine if a public route existed to facilitate visits to property that would be privatized in a proposed land swap with wealthy landowners Leslie and Abigail Wexner. Ultimately, directions and GPS coordinates were circulated to guide members of the public interested in visiting the land.
The proposed swap is currently under BLM review.
A well-used trail follows most of the route, but there were attempts to mark it in some areas by erecting cairns and flagging trees. Some vegetation was trimmed, as well.
The U.S. Forest Service issued citations to both Rickenbaugh and Greenway for two separate infractions related to the efforts.
Both Rickenbaugh and Greenway said early on that they would not simply pay the fines, totaling $850 apiece, but opt for their day in court.