Time to speak up about Roaring Fork Gorge | AspenTimes.com

Time to speak up about Roaring Fork Gorge

Residents of the Aspen Business Center and surrounding vicinity offer their thoughts about the Roaring Fork Gorge during an open house at Colorado Mountain College on Wednesday, June 19. Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

This week brings three more opportunities for the public to weigh in on the Roaring Fork Gorge Management Plan — a document that will outline future management of roughly four miles of open space and recreational amenities along the Roaring Fork River near Aspen.

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is hosting open houses for various user groups throughout June.

The effort wraps up with a session for equestrians today, a meeting for anglers Tuesday and a open house for boaters Thursday. All of the sessions will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Rio Grande meeting room off Aspen’s Galena Plaza. Attendees can pop in for a few minutes or stay as long as they’d like.

The Roaring Fork Gorge refers to the stretch of the river between Stein and Jaffee parks — an area that boasts a stretch of the Rio Grande Trail, a popular section of water for boaters and anglers, and various open space properties, including Gold Butte, which is slated to open to climbers this summer.

Open houses that already have taken place have allowed participants to ink up large maps of the gorge with their own visions of its potential. A connection from the Rio Grande Trail to the Brush Creek intercept lot and other potential bridge sites spanning the gorge have been noted, and fishing access points that residents would like maintained have been identified, as have potential new spots for nordic grooming and singletrack bike trails.

Raising Stein Bridge to accommodate boats on the river better also has been suggested. Many people have commented on whether the unpaved section of the Rio Grande Trail should be paved or left as is.

“We’ve learned a lot already about how people are using the gorge and what they’d like to see ­or not see ­there as we move forward,” said Lindsey Utter, recreation planner for Open Space and Trails.

For a synopsis of what has been written on the maps so far, go to http://www.pitkinostprojects.com and click on the link to the Roaring Fork Gorge Master Plan. From there, click on the “User Feedback” blog to view the maps. (Click on a map to enlarge it.) The website also contains a link to a quick survey; citizens are encouraged to offer information about how they use the gorge and what they’d like to see there.

Though this week’s open houses are targeted to specific user groups, anyone who wants to stop by and share their thoughts is welcome, Utter said.

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