Basalt residents getting the runaround
I am writing with a sick stomach over [Wednesday’s] articles in both the Times and the Daily regarding the commissioners’ final recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management.
It seems that rather than listening to Basalt’s Parks Open Space and Trails board, of which I am a member, the commissioners instead favored a single person’s, single interest group’s recommendations. It’s unbelievable to me that the Division of Wildlife (in its jurisdiction and/or recommendations) will potentially dominate all of Basalt’s natural trail access. We are already incredibly restricted in all of the trails that surround downtown and Old Town by the DOW.
Losing winter access to both Light Hill and Arbany-Kittle in Basalt is the equivalent of losing both Smuggler and Hunter Creek trails in Aspen or Red Hill in Carbondale. And while I understand that habitat is critical, we are only talking about a handful of miles of trails with somewhat limited use already, within thousands and thousands of acres of habitat. Without any studies or proof of disturbance, I can’t believe that such a recommendation from the DOW is valid.
It seems pretty clear that none of the commissioners is interested in the well-being of Basalt residents looking for a way to get off the pavement and into the woods close to home. We take pride in our own small community and thrive on our local trails without having to get in the car and drive to Aspen every time we wish to recreate.
I would like to encourage the public to get involved if it cares at all about further restricted access. Please write to County Commissioner George Newman, and submit comments to the BLM at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_
If both Arbany-Kittle and Light Hill are taken away, Basalt will be left with zero nonpaved trails in the winter months.
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