Letter: Oversight needed on open space | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Oversight needed on open space

The Pitkin County Board of Commissioners and the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails staff met for the first review of the draft for the 20,000 acres of Pitkin County open space lands.

If Open Space and Trails is allowing motorized vehicles on trails to accommodate motorized wheelchairs, then specify motorized handicapped vehicles, and don’t allow the e-bikes, scooters and who knows what other mechanical contraption humans will use to circumvent the original intention of a rule. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Rio Grande Trail should not be compromised by adding motorized vehicles — ever! That is what roads are for.

There is no oversight and enforcement on any of the open space properties, and I am told it is because the budget will not allow them. I say put your house in order first before you buy more open space that you cannot manage well. Put funds first into oversight and enforcement on our Open Space and Trails lands for good management practices. I have spoken to many of Aspen’s longtime residents, and we are all appalled at mountain bikers, in mass numbers, speeding down hiking trails that everyone used to enjoy.

Walt Whitman, Teddy Roosevelt and the Paepcke family would be sorely disappointed in the dysfunctional evolution of our human recreation in this beautiful, once-pristine valley. Take heed — Open Space and Trails has a responsibility to ensure a balance with nature and human use on the publicly paid-for Pitkin County open space properties.

Regarding agriculture, the Woody Creek Caucus has specified “historic agriculture” in its master plan. Citizens for Responsible Open Space recently wrote the following regarding this issue and the 20 more years that Open Space and Trails wants for unfettered spending of our public tax money:

“(Open Space and Trails) also wants to change the name of ‘historic agriculture’ to just ‘agriculture’! For all the farmers that are and have been, this is an outrage! It is also an outrage for the Woody Creek Caucus as I was involved in wording the new master plan and many hours were spent on preserving the wording of ‘historic agriculture’ as there is a distinct difference. This is something that is not acceptable in this valley and its ranching tradition. They would like to eradicate all trace of historic farming so that transportation corridors can crisscross throughout the valley as precious farmlands are bought up under the guise of open space. Gone will be the old farms, and in will be bike corridors.

“Lastly, (Open Space and Trails) wants 20 more years of unfettered spending. They have unlimited funds and no control. Who has such power? Who should have such power for 20 years? This is not proper policy for anything anywhere.”

We the people want oversight for enforcement and proper management on our Open Space Lands.

Holly McLain