Support trail linking Redstone, McClure Pass |

Support trail linking Redstone, McClure Pass

I am very proud of the work that our public land managers — the White River National Forest and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails — have done to bring this long-desired and much-needed trail and safety project to fruition. The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway, aka Highway 133, unites communities, brushes four diverse wilderness areas and is a testament to the natural beauty of Colorado. It is also an unmitigated speedway, often with barely a shoulder alongside. This effectively relegates all but the most daring of cyclists or pedestrians to view this treasure from inside a car at 55-plus mph, cut off from the details of nature.

Members of local communities near Redstone to McClure Pass Trail project currently use the old Forest Service routes in the area year-round for hiking and off-leash dog walking. These unmanaged trails likely have a larger impact on habitat than the current proposal, which includes pairing an upgraded trail with winter seasonal closures. Pitkin County Open Space and Trails will manage this new amenity, and they have a strong track record in this area as they have both the resources and authority to enforce such closures. The net effect of this trail project is the improved management of wildlife habitat during the critical winter seasons, and vastly improved safety for those wanting to experience the glory of our public lands.

Please take action by submitting your comments in support by Feb. 22. Search for “Redstone to McClure Pass Trail #56913” in your browser to find the Forest Service’s comment form and more details about the proposed trail.

Maureen Gaffney