Dear Editor:”Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” -John F. KennedyWalk, bike, ride the RFTA shuttle or ride your horse to Rock Bottom Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 21, noon to 4 p.m., for the grand opening of the new stretch of Rio Grande Trail, completing the link between Carbondale and Aspen/Snowmass Village. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1 p.m.With completion of the Rock Bottom segment of the trail, our valley now has 33 miles of continuous safe trail and it’s possible to bike from Carbondale to upvalley communities, completely protected from vehicular traffic.Reaching this milestone is the result of more than 10 years of regional collaboration and hard work on the part of many people and organizations through the years. Trail celebration planners hope that the many people who have played a role in creating 33 miles of trail are able to attend on Saturday, rain, snow, sleet or sunshine!The valley first started discussing purchasing the Rio Grande right of way in the early ’90s through the Roaring Fork Forum. Valley governments joined with CDOT and Great Outdoors Colorado, and succeeded in getting public ownership of the corridor in 1997. The Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority managed the early planning and management phases, and countless citizens attended planning meetings. A key step in making the trail a reality occurred in 2000 when our region created a transportation authority, which created a dedicated funding source for transit and trails.It’s taken more than 10 years of leadership from elected boards, active citizen involvement, sustained regional collaboration, and voter support to get to this point. Since that time, RFTA staff has been working tirelessly to get the trail built.The trail celebration is being held in collaboration with Rock Bottom Ranch’s fifth annual Harvest Party. Trail celebration and Harvest Party entertainment includes music by the Last Minute String Band and the traditional harvest activities of apple cider press, hayrides, pumpkin carving, musical bales, sack races, snacks, beverages and bike demos to help you explore our valley’s regional trail, and door prizes from local merchants.No motorized vehicles and absolutely no dogs at Rock Bottom Ranch. Take the trail to Rock Bottom Ranch, or catch a free shuttle at the El Jebel Park and Ride lot (on Gillespie Drive). Shuttles will be running every 20 minutes.For more information, please visit New Century Transportation Foundation’s website at http://www.newcenturytrans.org or please call Rock Bottom Ranch at 927-6760. Making our valley a bike- and pedestrian-friendly region!Cathy TuttleNew Century Transportation Foundation
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