RFTA leaves trail closure alone | AspenTimes.com

RFTA leaves trail closure alone

CARBONDALE ” After months of fussing and fighting over a midvalley trail’s potential impacts on wildlife, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority decided Thursday to leave a winter closure as is and monitor the results.

A 2-mile stretch of the Rio Grande Trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge in the midvalley is closed from Dec. 1 to April 30 so human users don’t disturb wildlife in the area. The trail in that section was constructed in fall 2006 and immediately proved popular with cyclists and pedestrians.

Critics felt the closure should have extended further into the spring. They claimed trail use flushed blue herons from their nests along the corridor in May.

The issue came to a head Thursday at the monthly meeting of RFTA’s board of directors in Carbondale. One faction of the board wanted the closure extended for one more month so trail use wouldn’t interfere with heron nesting. Another faction preferred opening the trail year-round.

Neither side secured enough votes to alter the existing seasonal closure. RFTA’s rules require a “super majority” to change policy. RFTA has eight voting jurisdictions; six votes are required to change policy. The sides were deadlocked 3-3 Thursday.

See Friday’s edition of The Aspen Times for more details on the decision.

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