Points about powder | AspenTimes.com

Points about powder

Dear Editor:

For the past four years Powder to the People has been working to attain equal motorized public access to the historical skiing areas on the east side of Richmond Ridge ” accessed by McFarlane’s, Wine Tree, WOFTR and Ptarmigan over-the-snow roads ” which is currently under an exclusive permit by Aspen Mountain Powder Tours. This winter the “gentleman’s agreement,” which gave the general public access to one-third of the area, was removed by the Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.

Public comment is now being taken on the White River National Forest’s final travel management plan, which will govern backcountry access for decades. The deadline is Tuesday, and the more unique, site-specific comments the Forest Service receives, the better.

Here are some of the points Powder to the People is emphasizing and that we encourage the public to personalize in their comments to the agency:

– One or more of the over-the-snow-roads and its spurs on the east side of Richmond Ridge ” McFarlane’s, Wine Tree, Ptarmigan and WOFTR ” should be open to public motorized winter use.

– Wine Tree and Ptarmigan over-the-snow-roads can be accessed directly via county road, Richmond Hill Road, through public “ways.” The Wine Tree “way” access would be the preferred entry point so as not to rely on private landowners to gain access to public lands as worked out in the now-void gentleman’s agreement.

– The east side of Richmond Ridge has been shared by the general public (skiers, snowmobilers and snowcats) and commercial interests since the 1960s, and should be shared recreationally in the future on designated over-the-snow roads.

– It goes against the Forest Service’s mission to give access to public lands to a commercial permit over the interests of the general public. Please do not let this happen on the historical skiing areas on the east side of Richmond Ridge.

– The area in discussion is prescribed as a 7.1 Intermix area, completely outside the Aspen Mountain ski area boundary. The prescription of the area, in the adopted Land and Resource Management Plan 2002 Revision, allows for motorized use. Alternative G negates that, changing the prescription to non-motorized.

Please visit our website, http://www.powdertothepeople.org, for more information, and send your comments by Tuesday. You can send them via e-mail to wrtmp@contentanalysisgroup.com or hand deliver them to your local Forest Service office.

Michael Sladdin

Powder to the People


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