Draft plan envisions trail on Glassier Ranch
A trail that will likely have mountain bikers salivating and ranchers fretting is proposed in a draft management plan for the Glassier Open Space Property in Emma.
The draft plan, released Monday, would provide a connection between the Rio Grande Trail and Bureau of Land Management property on the mountainside called the Crown. The trail would be unpaved and for non-motorized uses, the plan said.
Mountain bikers have long sought an alternative route from the Emma side of the Roaring Fork Valley into the Crown. The only existing access route from the east is a steep double-track route that climbs from the Rio Grande Trail just past Rock Bottom Ranch.
Rory Cerise is among the ranchers who have expressed concerns that attracting more bikers and hikers into the Crown will create more conflicts with their cattle-grazing operations. Other observers have expressed concern that developing more cycling trails will threaten wildlife habitat.
The draft management plan released by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails takes a balance between opening up public lands to the public and placing limits on uses. Dogs wouldn’t be allowed for recreational users of the property. In addition, the open space would be close seasonally to the public from Dec. 1 to May 15 to avoid disruption to elk and other wildlife. In winters with a low snowpack, there would be flexibility to open the property as early as April 15.
Cyclists and hikers would be able to use the Glassier property starting next year.
“The existing access road will be open May 15, 2015,” the draft management plan said. “Planning of (the) new trail will take place in summer 2015, with construction in 2016.”
It was unclear in the plan what type of connection the existing road provides to trails and roads on the BLM property. An extensive trail network exists, with the primary access off Prince Creek Road outside of Carbondale. Open Space and Trails officials couldn’t be reached Monday for clarification if the road connects to existing trails and roads on the BLM portion of the Crown.
The Glassier property draft management plan is scheduled to go to the initial review by the Open Space and Trails board of directors Thursday. The public meeting is at 10:30 a.m. at Snowmass Village Town Hall.
The draft plan is available online at http://www.pitkinostprojects.com/glassier-open-space- management-plan.html. Public comment will be accepted through Nov. 21.
The draft plan also outlines management proposals for agriculture uses; the future of an existing historic house and outbuildings, parking and angler access to the Roaring Fork River.
The 282-acre Glassier Open Space is located along Hooks Spur Road. About 140 acres is irrigated and available for agricultural uses. Pitkin and Eagle counties acquired the property with a contribution from the town of Basalt. It is closed to the public until a management plan is adopted.
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