Independence Pass closer to scenic designation |

Independence Pass closer to scenic designation

Aspen Times Staff

Elected officials in the upper valley voted Thursday to support an application to designate Independence Pass as an official scenic byway.Part of Highway 82 carries that designation, but it ends just west of Twin Lakes, just before the highway ascends into what is arguably one of the state’s most scenic drives. That Independence Pass has not been dubbed a Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway has long irked local officials.At Thursday’s meeting of the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, Mark Fuller of the Independence Pass Foundation said his group would push the application forward if it had the EOTC’s support. The committee consists of elected representatives from Pitkin County, Aspen and Snowmass Village.Fuller acknowledged that there are several unknowns about making the pass a scenic byway. They include the possibility of increased traffic and human use of the pass, he said.The possibility of more vehicles concerned committee member and Aspen City Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss, who voted against the proposal.But Fuller said traffic and use of the pass is already increasing. Portable toilets will be in place in some areas on the pass, he said.The committee voted 10-2 to support the application.

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