In Brief: Old gift card put to use at Explore; Eagle looking to upgrade trails |

In Brief: Old gift card put to use at Explore; Eagle looking to upgrade trails

Staff Report

Old gift card put to use at Explore

Karen Glenn retired from the Roaring Fork School District in May 2022. While cleaning out her desk, she found a gift card to Explore Booksellers from a former student. The $15 gift card was purchased in 2008, well before the current owners of the bookstore.

When a neighbor brought in the card for Glenn, Explore General Manager Jason Jefferies took one look at the gift card and said, “Of course we will honor this card and make sure Karen gets her well-deserved thank you.”

Program Director Jeff Bernstein and Jefferies are picking out a travel book on Maui for Glenn. She has only flown a handful of times in her entire life, and she is studying up for her first plane ride over the ocean to Maui with her husband.

Moffat Search and Rescue needed for stranded motorists

Blizzard conditions west of Craig on Wednesday, Feb. 15, left more than a dozen motorists stranded and prompted a rescue effort by Moffat County Search and Rescue. 

The harsh weather conditions Wednesday caused overnight closures of U.S. Highway 40 west of Craig. The U.S. 40 closure stretched to the Utah state line, and it included Colorado Highway 318 from Maybell to the Utah state line. 

Both highways reopened by Friday, Feb. 17, but the poor weather conditions and closures left multiple motorists stranded Wednesday night on Colorado 318 outside of Maybell.

Using a snowcat and more, Moffat County Search and Rescue deployed on Wednesday to reach those who were stranded and collected approximately 19 people and one dog. The stranded motorists were first taken to Maybell, where temporary services were provided at the Maybell Community Center. 

According to Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, all of the stranded motorists were then transported to Craig, where overnight lodging and meals were arranged in a coordinated effort with several local entities. 

Eagle looking to upgrade trails

Alongside the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition and the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, Eagle’s Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee is gearing up to propose major improvements to Eagle Trails within the Bureau of Land Management Hardscrabble Special Recreation Management Area. 

Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee chair Ernest Saeger said after snow melts and seasonal closures lift this spring, environmental surveys will be conducted on trails within the area to determine possible impacts of changes to the trails that were proposed to the Bureau of Land Management. 

Also, Saeger said Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee, the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition and the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance are seeking community feedback on proposed changes to Hardscrabble trails. 

“We hope, in a perfect world, if there’s no significant objections and environmental teams don’t find anything too detrimental to any of these projects, that the idea is for this to be approved for changes or denied by the end of July,” Saeger said.  

Project managers sought as much feedback as possible from citizens to stakeholders to trail users to wildlife advocates. With the feedback and through the town of Eagle Open Space and Trail Master Plan, the proposal submitted to the Bureau of Land Management pending environmental review was able to come to fruition. 

Eagle County real estate slips to second-best year ever

A dip in the Eagle County real estate market still resulted in the all-time second-best year in terms of dollar value.

The 2022 dollar volume of $3.58 billion was a 16% decline from 2021’s record-shattering $4.28 billion. Perhaps more telling, though, was the decline in transactions. The 1,973 transactions were the fewest since 2014.

Travis Cox, team leader of Keller Williams Mountain Properties, said while there’s plenty of national news about a cooling real estate market, the local market is still strong.

While the “crazy times” of 2021 and the second half of 2020 have subsided, Cox noted that what’s declining in most places is the rate of price appreciation. The speed of transactions is also cooling off, with fewer contracts being written within a day or two of a property hitting the market.

“You don’t want a house to go under contract in an afternoon,” Cox said, adding that a significant portion of those quickly written deals fell through before closing.

Alex Griffin, the local manager for LIV Sotheby’s International Real Estate, said despite national and state news, “the sky is not falling.”

Griffin noted that while interest rates have risen in the past year, current mortgage rates are in the low-5% range. Still, that’s quite a bit higher than rates in the 3% range seen in 2021.

Documentary focuses on Lake Tahoe housing crisis

The Lake Tahoe housing crisis is a hot topic, and local resident Elizabeth Cameron has documented the difficulties of finding places to live. 

Cameron was a coach for the Palisades Tahoe ski team five years ago, before moving away to pursue other ventures. When she returned in late 2021 for the winter season, housing prices had skyrocketed. 

“I was so blown away by how just five years prior, it had been so easy to find a place,” said Cameron. “I was just shocked by how much more difficult living up here, from a rental perspective, had become in just five years.” 

The idea struck for Cameron to create a short documentary about the housing crisis in the basin, specifically centered around skiers and snowboarders. From there, she posted on Facebook looking for people to help create the film. 

“I was blown away by the community response and support,” Cameron said. “So it’s grown into a much bigger project.”

Now, the 30-minute documentary, Room and Board, will be playing at the Mammoth Film Festival at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 4, and features many voices in the community, including local snowboarder Irie Jefferson, Christine Savage with Beyond the Boundaries and Stacy Caldwell with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.