Spectacular and environmentally sensitive | AspenTimes.com

Spectacular and environmentally sensitive

Michael Hermes, RFTA Trails Director and the RFTA Board of Directors have asked for public comment on the draft of Wildlife Management Plan.

We have just read the Wildlife Management Plan and are impressed by its thoroughness and recommendations. We think it is a well thought out and valid approach to balancing human impact/needs with the needs of wildlife.

We live in Carbondale and we will be one of the many people who use the trail frequently for recreation and commuting by bike.

The elimination of the need to ride a bike on the roads from Catherine Bridge through El Jebel to Hooks Lane will be a significant improvement to people’s safety and enjoyment.

We have ridden our bikes on many of the Rails to Trails conversions in the US. They are the best use of old railroad beds and provide sound environmental enhancement and outstanding recreational opportunities for people. It seems that every time a Rails to Trails conversion is suggested, the people with property abutting the trail are up in arms. Then, after the trail is in, they use it and are advocates.

We are going on a week-long bike ride on the KATY trail in Missouri in late September. Their claim is that it is the longest stretch of a Rails to Trails conversion in the US. We think the Rio Grande/Colorado/Crystal river bike trails, when completed, will enable the Roaring Fork valley to claim this distinction.

The completed Rio Grande trail from Aspen to Carbondale to Glenwood (then up and down the Colorado and Crystal River bike trails) will be one of the most spectacular and environmentally sensitive Rails to Trails in the country.

RFTA is doing the valley communities a great thing by completing the missing links in this trail.

To paraphrase the Star Trek saying “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few ” NIMBYs.” We were particularly disturbed by the NIMBYs’ recommendation of adding an 8-foot bike lane to the frontage road between Catherine store and El Jebel. It would make that section of the road look like another four-lane highway (without a median strip). This section of the road would look like three DIA landing strips ” plus the hassle factor of having traffic at your shoulder.

We strongly encourage RFTA to adopt the plan as presented. As mentioned above, we think it balances the impact/needs of humans with the needs of wildlife while improving people’s safety and reducing the environmental impact of cars.

Lynn and Kirsten Carlisle


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