Hunter Creek access settlement ain’t all that
Mr. Tim McFlynn, formerly a lawyer for the Friends of Hunter Creek, recently wrote an opinion on the recent Hunter Creek access giveaway by the county commissioners.Don’t get me wrong, the battle waged by the Friends vs. McKloskey was a fine effort.But in the end, nothing was gained.A not yet wet behind the ears counsel for the commissioners, who most likely was still in grade school when the “Save Hunter Creek” T-shirts came out, created enough fear that the commissioners opted to sign something that was pretty much a total giveaway for what the Friends were combating; that being a blatant takeaway by Mr. McKloskey. This, despite the fact the courts had continuously sided with Pitkin County’s position of ownership.The access to Hunter Creek was already in place and being managed for no vehicle usage except during hunting season and administrative use by the U.S. Forest Service. Trailhead parking was available for all to use at the forest boundary. It had been this way for a long, long time.Mr. McKloskey bought property on the forest boundary and tried to close the access/trailhead location. Not a very neighborly thing to do. But then, he really didn’t seem to care about others or how his actions affected them. He was now here, and everyone else be damned. Mr. McKloskey for years thumbed his nose at the users of the legal access, and created a number of scare tactics to try to prevent people from accessing Hunter Creek through the legal right of way on his property.Eventually he built an illegal road and through the art of confusion was able to cause a number of people to divert from the legal road to his illegal road. As a result of this, some people even ended up driving into the valley. This was due to the fact that the Forest Service gate, which was closed, was being circumvented, and McKloskey’s illegal gate would be left open. Heavy chains and locks, placed on this gate by the Forest Service, would mysteriously disappear within hours of being placed on the illegal gate. Now I, for one, do not believe many people travel with heavy-duty bolt cutters, so I’m not quite sure who cut the chains. You be the judge.The Pitkin County commissioners, by signing this Hunter Creek agreement, have validated Mr. McKloskey’s actions.I do not think congratulations are in order, except perhaps for Mr. McKloskey.It is my opinion that when the county commissioners sold off on this new Hunter Creek agreement, they dropped the ball. They have once again demonstrated the power of the Golden Rule within Pitkin County. He who has the gold makes the rule.Rather than malign the Forest Service, let us all hope that they continue to pursue the right of access and parking from the Hunter Creek forest boundary, a right we have had long before Mr. McKloskey came on the scene.Ron Baar arrived in Aspen with his parents in the early ’50s. He fished and hunted in the Hunter Creek Valley throughout his youth. In the summers of 1965 through 1969, he worked for Tri-Co Management, a subsidiary of McCulloch Oil, doing work for them throughout the Hunter Creek area. He lives at the base of Red Mountain.
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“If I was moving through the herd, the others would begin walking away, some of them at a jog, taking their calves with them, but the big brown ungulate would face me sideways, reluctant to move, not wanting to give any ground,” writes Tony Vagneur.