Pitkin County back roads could see Jeep Jamboree
December 19, 2011
ASPEN – A Jeep Jamboree that could bring as many as 100 four-wheel-drive vehicles and 300 people to Pitkin County’s backcountry roads for four days in August will get consideration from county commissioners on Wednesday.
California outfit Mark A. Smith Off-Roading Inc. is seeking a special-events permit for the event, to take place Aug. 15-18. The guide service was courted by Snowmass Tourism to host it, according to Mike Kraemer, a member of the county’s planning staff.
Kraemer is seeking input from commissioners about the appropriateness of the event and the capacity of area Jeep roads before the Special Events Committee convenes to give the application a full review. The Sheriff’s Office, Aspen Ambulance and the county engineer have already been consulted, he said in a memo to commissioners.
“While some roads, for example, Fryingpan Road to Hagerman Pass or Midnight Mine Road to Richmond Ridge Road, are inherently wider and can accommodate two-way traffic, some roads, such as Pearl Pass Road and Express Creek Road, are very narrow for long sections and have only one lane,” Kraemer wrote. “Given the nature of these two roads, congestion and conflict with others using the roads could occur.”
The application proposes rides involving as many as 18 vehicles, including three guide vehicles. That equates to about six groups of 18 vehicles riding at various locations at one time. Groups will be broken up by experience, with rides that vary from easy to difficult. Roads such as Pearl Pass would be for experienced drivers. After the rides, participants will return to accommodations in Snowmass Village, Kraemer’s memo indicates.
The rides are not races and are not timed; average speeds will be between 3 and 5 mph, the memo said.
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County roads proposed to be used in the event are: Pearl Pass Road/Montezuma Basin; Express Creek Road and Taylor Pass; Summer Road (Aspen Mountain) and Richmond Ridge; Little Annie Road; Midnight Mine Road; Smuggler Mountain Road; Woody Creek Road to Larkspur Mountain Road and Kobey Park; Fryingpan Road to Hagerman Pass; and Lincoln Creek Road to the Ruby townsite.
Other area rides are proposed at locales outside Pitkin County, namely Lead King Basin to Schofield Pass, Italian Creek and Paradise Divide, all within adjacent Gunnison County.
Dedicated ambulance service and an incident commander at the Sheriff’s Office have been suggested as precautions, so emergency personnel can better respond in the event of multiple incidents, according to Kraemer.
The Jeep Jamboree would take place the week before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge returns to Aspen.