Sorting out the snowmobile problem | AspenTimes.com

Sorting out the snowmobile problem

Dear Editor:

Regarding the snowmobile operations in Lenado: In 2002, I purchased 6 acres of land which was formerly owned by Lumber Jack. I have loved spending time in the beauty and magic of Lenado, which means “wooded place” in Spanish. Though I have not been able to attend meetings/hearings due to travel and children, I don’t want others to speak for me.

I have a good relationship with my neighbors in Lenado as well as Howard, the snowmobile operator. I have no ill will toward anyone and hope a win-win solution can be achieved. I also feel anyone who owns property above mine should have access to their land via car or snowmobile.

My biggest problem is the high volume of two-stroke engine pollution and noise. I have spent the time and money to build a LEED-certified (gold) home in Lenado that is off-grid, solar-powered and uses 13 percent of the energy of a conventional home. I live closest to the snowmobile operations and therefore experience the greatest impact. One two-stroke snowmobile gives off the pollution of 40 cars (Discover, May 2008). Times that by 50 snowmobiles from Howard, and another 25 to 50 from other visitors, on a peak winter day and I’ve got the equivalent of 4,000 cars idling just off my driveway. Along with noise and smoke, 30 percent of the fuel goes directly into the air, ground and water via runoff. Additionally, most of the car parking, snowmobile startup and idling happens in close proximity to Woody Creek.

Ideas on the table that I endorse: 1.) The county plowing an additional three-quarters of a mile up road to Kiosk. A good start but doesn’t address environmental impacts or traffic through Lenado. 2.) Use original entry point to White River National Forest and Kobey Park, 4 miles below Lenado. My favorite choice, safer for all and removes Lenado from the picture. 3.) faze out two-stroke engines and use four-stroke engines. Only four-stroke engines are allowed in Yellowstone National Park now due to environmental impacts and health issues.

I do not support the status quo as the traffic from snowmobile use has increased over the seven years I have owned property in Lenado. Also, to my knowledge, there have been no environmental impact assessments.

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In this day and age, we need to work together as a community. This requires listening, honoring each other’s needs and compromise. This way we can all continue to enjoy the beauty and magic of Mother Nature.

Branden Cohen

Carbondale