The road that Wilk closed reopens | AspenTimes.com
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The road that Wilk closed reopens

Jeremy Heiman

A bolt cutter was used Monday to reopen a Smuggler Mountain cutoff road that was closed by landowner Wilk Wilkinson.Stan Berryman, the county’s public works director, used the bolt cutter to snip the cable on the Hunter Creek cutoff road at the request of the county commissioners.Wilkinson closed the road Sunday, after happening upon Pitkin County’s head planner, Cindy Houben, and an Aspen Times reporter, who were hiking on the road. He told Houben to leave his property, and the two left.But the closure may not have been on Wilkinson’s property at all. Dale Will, director of Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails program, said yesterday that assistant county attorney Debbie Quinn told him she thought the cable was actually placed on the B & M Mining claim. That property is owned by Aspenite Harley Baldwin and leased to the Open Space program with the option to buy.When Berryman cut the cable, he was accompanied by sheriff’s deputy George Kremer, who snapped some pictures.”I ran into a lot of people on Smuggler Road who were glad to hear it was open,” Berryman said. The cutoff road, between Smuggler Road and Hunter Creek, is popular with hikers and snowshoers, and with mountain bikers in the summer.Wilkinson is said to have put up closures at other places where Smuggler Road passes through his property, but that could not be confirmed Tuesday.Pitkin County is involved in a lawsuit intended to establish that the county owns both Smuggler Road and the Hunter Creek cutoff. The county initiated the action last summer in federal court. The county’s suit names Wilkinson and other owners of Smuggler property as defendants and asks the court for “declaratory relief and for quiet title” to the road.Wilkinson claims ownership of the cutoff road and Smuggler Road came with the purchase of his approximately 240 acres of Smuggler Mountain mining claims. He has threatened in the past to close the roads to public use, and has asked the Tenth Mountain Hut Association to pay a fee to use the road.


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