I was disheartened to hear that the RFTA Board did not have the backbone to stand up to the NIMBYism and reverse their original decision and open the Emma to Catherine Store section of the Rio Grand Trail to year-round use.
I have lived in the valley since 1971 and have kayaked these rivers since I arrived. I am not a wildlife expert but I can tell you the Blue Heron population is thriving as much now as it did back in the ’70s. And for the deer and elk, I have not heard any complaints from hunters as to their population.
The Blue Heron populations along the Colorado River is thriving down there as well, and look what they are up against: a four-lane highway, a heavily used bike and walking trail, and hordes of rafters. So you can not convince me that the sole reason the Blue Herons moved from their tree near Jim Duke’s house was because of the Rio Grand Trail.
I can’t blame Jim Duke for trying to protect his own piece of heaven. While I do not know Jim personally I am sure he is like most other people in this valley that make this such a great place to live. But let’s call a spade a spade. His take and his neighbors is pure NIMBY.
As for the expert representation, how often, when given the opportunity to keep an area closed to the public, would you hear wildlife officials say yes, let’s keep it open. I am sure we could find experts on the other side who would say differently.
Let’s remind Jim and all the other NIMBYers that this was and still could be a train corridor. They could be listening to the rumble of the train track and the shrill sound of the engines horn every time a train passes by. What about the wildlife then? Well, they adapt just like they have been adapting all these years to the growth in the valley.
This railway corridor that we have purchased must be preserved for a future commuter train for the greater good. Remember the day before the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority purchased the Rio Grand ROW Union Pacific could have run a train from Glenwood to Aspen every five minutes and nobody could have done anything about it? That is the right RFHA purchased, and should be maintained for a future light rail from Glenwood to Aspen. It is important that the Rio Grande ROW not be breached.
It is time we open this portion of the trail to year-round use. This section and the Slaughter House section are the two most peaceful sections of the Rio Grand Trail. I would love to cross county ski on the snow covered trail along the river in the winter time, away from the sounds of traffic.
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