Crystal Trail south of Carbondale could open this fall |

Crystal Trail south of Carbondale could open this fall

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” A five-mile paved bike trail south of Carbondale might open this fall.

The planned Crystal Trail would head south along Highway 133 to the BRB Crystal River Resort. It includes 2.5-acres of open space on the Crystal River, at mile marker 65 near the north end of Cold Mountain Ranch.

Piktin County Open Space and Trails and Garfield County are hammering out how to enforce open space rules on 1.5 miles of the trail and 2.5 acres of open space along the river in Garfield County. Garfield County has pledged $200,000 to the trail, said John Armstrong, Pitkin County ranger.

“We hope to have the trail usable this fall,” he said.

Armstrong said Thursday that Garfield County could adopt Pitkin County’s open space code and authorize Pitkin County rangers to enforce the rules on the open space and trail in Garfield County.

“We certainly don’t expect the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office to have a dog at large or a camper beat,” he said.

Armstrong said most of the open space code enforcement deals with things like dogs off leashes, squatters and illegal campers, illegal dumping and unauthorized use of motor vehicles on bike trails. First-time violations usually result in a warning, and can be followed by $100, $500, and then $1,000 fines for subsequent offenses.

“It’s certainly not taken lightly, however we’re not a gestapo presence,” Armstrong said, adding that rangers focus on education and normally issue warnings for first- and sometimes second-time offenses.

The planned trail would extend the system of bicycle trails in Carbondale, starting just south of Roaring Fork High School. Trail advocates hope to one day extend the trail to Redstone and beyond, but there are more complex land-use issues farther up and no immediate plans to build there.

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has $1 million from a $5 million Crystal Watershed Great Outdoors Colorado Legacy Grant that is helping fund the trail. Program Director Dale Will said cost estimates are years old, but Pitkin County is guessing the trail could end up costing around $3.5 million.

Will said Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is looking to finalize a permit with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“We’re hoping to get it done by this fall,” he said. “It’s been an arduous process of permitting with CDOT and trying to raise money. We’ve been working on it for several years now but I’m hoping the stars will all line up.”

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