Andersen causes resentment |

Andersen causes resentment

Mr. Paul Andersen’s “Fair Game” column of Oct. 13 was well written and very convincing as far as it went. I regret, however, how misleading it was in light of its generalities and inaccuracies.

I certainly admire Mr. Andersen’s magnanimous attitude and willingness to share his trail with others, but at the same time resent his suggestion that I need to do the same for the public good on the Crystal River. Factually, his opening sentence that, “The Crystal River Valley is currently embroiled in a controversy CENTERED (emphasis mine) on public access to public lands” is not correct.

At most, one mile of the suggested valley-long trail deals with this topic, while the rest concerns protection of wildlife habitat from human encroachment, practicality of trail placement (i.e., its most sensible location), the unprofessional and heavy-handed manner in which Pitkin County has conducted its Trail Feasibility Program and the protection of private property rights.

The diverse group of citizens that has formed to audit this project contains some who are personally in favor of a trail and others who are not – but are willing to go along with it if done reasonably and fairly, ensuring that no individuals are denied their rights and that the fiscal and environmental concerns are not whitewashed.

The only way this can be accomplished is for the trail to be constructed within the Highway 133 right-of-way easement, thereby eliminating or reducing all of these concerns.

Much more can and needs to be said about this ill-conceived idea. For example, Andersen stated that the old Crystal River railroad grade is an old public thoroughfare. True, but it was owned by the railroad, not the public, and “old” is also right. It was sold 58 years ago, and my family has paid taxes on our segment of it for 54 years.

Many homes sit directly on the old grade. How many persons are so magnanimous as to allow a bike trail to almost literally go through their living room when the reason they bought the property was to live out of town and enjoy their privacy? In places, the grade is completely gone, washed away by the river.

My apologies if Mr. Andersen is also a Pitkin County property owner, but I am quite chagrined that, as a resident of Eagle County – the Seven Castles area – Mr. Andersen is so willing to offer advice to the Pitkin County property owners and indirectly to all residents who bear the cost of this project, estimated at $50 per foot of trail. This totals almost $4.5 million to get to Redstone, without considering its continuation over McClure Pass. This doesn’t include the millions spent on open space or pending litigation against private property owners.

Perhaps Mr. Andersen isn’t aware of the many implications of his lack of information concerning what is going on with this trail project. If he or anyone else would like to know more they may contact me.

P.S. What Mr. Andersen and the county keep referring to as Wine Point isn’t correct. The name is Red Wind (as in kind) Point – so named for the red cliffs that the railroad curved around.

Paige Meredith

Crystal Valley

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