RFTA trail increases roadkill | AspenTimes.com

RFTA trail increases roadkill

Dear Editor:Those requiring more evidence documenting the RFTA Trail’s impact on wildlife should start counting the road kills north of their “nature trail” along Highway 82 and the frontage road between Catherine’s Store and El Jebel. Right next to the article “RFTA moves forward with Hooks trail plan” in the Aug. 11 Aspen Daily was another article “Motorcyclist survives crash with deer on 82.” Without knowing, I’d wager this happened through this stretch.This unseasonal increase in road kills will continue to escalate through the upcoming hunting seasons as big game retreating from as far away as Capitol Creek and Redstone find Rock Bottom Ranch to be invaded. The game will then try to seek out the mysterious alternate game route that at least one RFTA Board Member suggested this game should start using in lieu of their established sanctuary in Rock Bottom.With the beginning of rifle seasons in October the carnage will make a drastic increase resulting in a predictable several fold increase in CDOT’s statistics for this stretch. When the responsible trail users switch their travel back onto the frontage road in respect for the RFTA trail seasonal closures they, will be riding into the peak of this carnage as RFTA may or may not try to address their trespass situation along their trail without any enforcement capabilities.This predictable, indeed already existing, slaughter might be avoided only if RFTA figures out very quickly that they need to at least temporarily stop disturbances along this corridor, and then figure out how to enforce this slight reprieve for wildlife through the upcoming hunting seasons. Otherwise, our local transit agency will be creating huge safety issues and needlessly sacrificing wildlife all in the name of safety and wildlife preservation.Give wildlife one season to “accommodate” to the damage already done and let RFTA get some practice managing traffic before opening the flood gates to a paved trail. This would only be exercising the adaptive management aspect of their wildlife management plan at a time when this option is desperately needed.Shoni PinaEl Jebel