Vehicles carve up Aspen nordic trails | AspenTimes.com

Vehicles carve up Aspen nordic trails

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – A Pitkin County ranger has issued a citation to a snowmobiler for driving on the Moore Open Space last week and damaging the nordic trail loops that are set there, as well as the sagebrush.

Open Space and Trails ranger John Armstrong said he believes Archer Bishop III rode a snowmobile from adjoining private property onto the Moore Open Space, where mechanized uses are not allowed. The citation, which carries a $100 fine for a first offense, is in the mail, he said. The incident occurred Thanksgiving Day.

In addition, Open Space and Trails officials hope to find the driver of a truck that tore up nordic trails at both the Aspen golf course and on the Moore property on Friday, Nov. 26.

A white pickup truck was reported driving around on the golf course at about 9 a.m., but the driver was not caught. Armstrong said the truck apparently drove around on the Moore property as well, and across the pedestrian bridge that spans Maroon Creek Road next to the Moore Open Space and the Aspen Chapel.

A vehicle, possibly the same one, has been driven on the Moore property on as many as three separate occasions – two of them on Nov. 26, according to Armstrong. One incident occurred after barricades were placed to discourage the practice; the vehicle went around the barricades, he said. It also got stuck once, causing more damage as the driver freed it.

Armstrong is encouraging anyone who witnesses the activity to record the license plate number on the vehicle and call authorities or the open space office at 920-5232.

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“It does major damage to the nordic system, especially at this time of year, when we’re trying to set the tracks,” said Gary Tennenbaum, Open Space and Trails land steward.

“It’s disappointing,” Armstrong agreed. “We invest money in the grooming – the machines that do it and the manpower. We view it as a county asset.”

An individual also recently drove the length of the Brush Creek Trail in a vehicle, according to Armstrong. The bike trail is not open to motorized use at any time and is closed to all uses during the winter out of deference to wildlife. The seasonal closure went into effect Wednesday.

In the Crystal River Valley, a rancher received a warning for snowmobiling on the Crystal Trail, a new bike trail extending south out of Carbondale, Armstrong said. Motorized uses are not permitted there or elsewhere on the Open Space and Trails system, with the exception of legitimate agricultural use, maintenance vehicles and nordic track-setting equipment.

janet@aspentimes.com