The queen of all Crowns | AspenTimes.com

The queen of all Crowns

Dear Editor:

After attending the very well attended meeting on Crown Mountain, the next day I took a bike ride up there to let the comments from the night before sink in.

It is a beautiful place with views up and down the valley on one side and Sopris on the other. I passed a herd of mule deer unconcerned with my presence, but I think the wind had something to do with them not noticing me. I did, however, notice the cactus, sagebrush, scrub-oak and views. I also noticed that there was not another person in sight for the three hours I was there. (It was a weekday, though.)

The meeting was emotional for some who want the area to remain “pristine,” but the fact of the matter is that it is being used and needs to be managed.

Aside from the NIMBY’s on the Sopris Mountain Ranch side of the Crown, who mostly whined about how some couldn’t walk their dogs on the West Sopris Creek Road without traffic, big surprise with all the housing construction up that road and the very large houses they live in being supported and built in the ranch (not to mention that their common space is about 2,000 acres, almost equal to the size of the Crown; that’s a lot of dog walking).

The Crown is public lands and with Haypark and Mount Sopris at the end of “their” road, there is bound to be weekend traffic. The only traffic that passed me on West Sopris Creek was a bunch of dump trucks and work trucks galore. Doubtful they were headed to recreate on the Crown as they dusted me on my bike.

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The Prince Creek side was about the same traffic wise, but the Prince Creek ranchers, unhappy with the increase in use, were open minded enough to know that managing the area was key to its existence and their sanity.

Then there were a few equestrians, going on and on about how some horses can handle the trail and surprises on the trail without them getting all “squirrelly” and some horses are just plain “green.” (I think this means they jump or buck if they think a stick is a snake.) Well, it seems to me that in the “green” instance, why would you ride into an area where there are known surprises and obvious “traffic,” i.e. hikers, bikers, dog-walkers, ATVs, etc.?

As I rode along, it was easy to see why we would all think the NIMBY way. I felt incredibly selfish enjoying my time in this special place with no one else, but the mule deer. I also felt incredibly lucky to have this in my backyard to enjoy, and if it meant sharing it or losing it, I choose, share it. A lesson my 2 and 4 year old are having a hard time wrapping their minds around. Nevertheless, we all need to be grown ups and help Crown Mountain to mature and last for the next 25 years, according to the BLM.

The BLM process may seem daunting and bureaucratic, but there may be a method to their madness so that everyone can enjoy the public lands. The hard part may be that we all may disagree how to get there, but the easy part is that we all really want the same for Crown Mountain, which is a beautiful place for all to enjoy.

Amy Connerton

Basalt