A trail through the Crystal River Valley? | AspenTimes.com

A trail through the Crystal River Valley?

I reference the letter to the editor titled “A Win-Win trail in the Crystal River Valley” dated Nov. 16. The writers of this letter believe a trail “A” alignment would cost in access of $100 million and a trail “B” alignment would cost between $20 million and $25 million. What documented cost analysis do these writers reference?

The writers believe that Open Space and Trails will work to ensure that chosen segments of the “B” alignment will have small impacts on wildlife. “Winter closures and enforcement against improper use are key” they say. Requests for emergency services to the mid to upper Crystal River Valley can be as much as 45 to 60 minutes and in the winter even longer. What kind of response time for compliance violations concerning this trail would Open Space and Trails have?

Signs, traffic control devices and closures alone don’t work! Compliance of any “people control” device must be accompanied by real-time enforcement capabilities. The Penny Hot Springs is a prime example of a lack of compliance and enforcement. There are constant incursions onto the protected lands east of the river by people who go into the river, then decide to go exploring. I base these statements on 27 1/2 years of law enforcement experience and my personal observations.

The writers reference the “existing rail bed” as requiring less engineering and is already “disturbed soil.” The Crystal River and San Juan Railroad’s request for abandonment was approved by the ICC on Sept. 22, 1941. Along with all of the railroad’s assets the railroad grade was sold in its entirety and much of the railroad grade (exclusive of Open Space and Trails land holdings east of the river) is private land. The railroad grade does not exist!

Open Space and Trails and its supporters must be forthright and forthcoming to the people of the Crystal River Valley. Integrity in government is not a request, it’s a right. The fact is the trail is not a win-win for ALL. The vast majority of people in the Crystal River Valley aren’t buying into that premise.

Philip R. Gaylord


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