Castle Creek trail worth fighting for | AspenTimes.com

Castle Creek trail worth fighting for

Castle Creek trail worth fighting for

I've been a champion of the Castle Creek trail since before it was even proposed, and now with the completion of the Aspen Music School/Country Day School's campus, this trail is more urgent than ever. The new rehearsal hall can accommodate the entire festival orchestra and has already done so. In short, what this means is that with more activity on the campus, more young musicians and students will be walking the Castle Creek Road to the Marolt housing and town.

The opponents of this vital trail argued that it would forever change the lush wild vegetation along the road. To that I would simply ask, "How many trees is a human life worth?" And probably a young one at that. The article in Saturday's Aspen Daily News stated that school officials were anxious that students and staff be able access the site "without having to walk the narrow shoulder of the county road." The reality is that there are places along the road with no shoulders. It is inevitable if that trail is not built, a pedestrian is going to be maimed or killed.

The newspaper says the purpose of Monday afternoon's 4:30 meeting at the library is to open the planning process in the most transparent manner and seek public input. According to Dick Butera, Eddie Wachs, who owns a home several hundred feet below the road, feels that the visual impact of the trail will cut into his property's value and supposedly is ready to file suit again to stop the trail. Again I ask, how much is a human life worth?

The county has allowed itself to be intimidated by Castle Creek homeowners and it's past time to stand up to them. At the same time, the county has extended an aspen branch of peace. This trail can be tailored to address their concerns. Construction materials need not be massive concrete and steel girders Butera fears. Those sections where the trail has to be attached to the steep hillside can be made of wood, which could be weathered to blend into the vegetation. And special care could be taken to minimize disruption to the ecosystem (cut down the fewest trees possible).

This 3,000-foot-trail is the most important missing piece in our trail inventory. We must encourage our elected officials to get it done now.

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Jon Busch

Aspen

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