Thar’s torts in them thar hills |

Thar’s torts in them thar hills

Dear Editor:

Who would be liable?

An accident is waiting to happen on the trail that starts at Little Cloud Park at Fourth and West Hopkins and traverses across Shadow Mountain to meet the Summer Road at the top of Norway Slope. This trail has two branches at the bottom.

The right fork goes to the top of the biggest Pride of Aspen mine dump and then switches back to climb to the top. The late Hans Grammiger owned the land under this branch and closed off access 10 or 20 years ago. Since he died, the gate at the right fork has been opened. The trail between the mine dump and its juncture with the left fork is passable, with some minor cave-ins, and has inch-thick rusty cables, which can be stooped under, crossing it in two places.

The left fork was an ad hoc expedient to outflank Grammiger’s property, and the bottom hundred yards is as steep as the Ute Trail.

LPI-Aspen is developing the parcel, #24 Little Cloud Drive, and its contractor, Colorado Coastal Construction, has gouged out an approximately 150-foot driveway-width strip that has cut across the left fork of the hiking trail. The downhill side of that excavation is a continuous line of unsorted debris consisting of broken trees and boulders. Lots of those milk-carton-sized boulders have rolled onto the trail, and others are perched on springy tree branches and loose dirt and can easily be set rolling to severely injure anyone in their path.

I’ve been a climber since 1960. I am deaf, but many people wear headphones and might as well be deaf for purposes of hearing a rock crashing through the underbrush above them. Dealing with those loose rocks requires a crew with flagmen above and below. That’s why I didn’t start the process myself.

Ms. Cathy Berg, a PitCo engineer, had scheduled a site visit and will probably initiate a solution. My neighborhood uses the trail to access the Summer Road. If doing minor repairs to the right branch is the solution, I hope that some resources will be thrown at it soon.

David Bentley