A peaceful solution for Crystal Valley
October 26, 2017
The vast majority of the opinions expressed at Tuesday night's Crystal River Trail meeting in Carbondale were either for no trail at all or one along the west side of Highway 133. Only a couple of voices spoke up for a trail along the abandoned railroad tracks on the east side of the highway and the river, but that's probably what we're going to end up with.
A trail up the east side would be much cheaper because of the existing railroad easement. Money talks and the needs and concerns of the Crystal Valley residents and wildlife walks.
In his column in the Aspen Daily News, former Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland accused the residents of being selfish NIMBYs. I don't think it's selfish to expect a little privacy when you've invested a great deal of time, work, and money to build a home in the wilderness. Forget the backyard. That railroad easement goes right through the front yard, within 50 yards of the front door of some of those residences.
Ireland obviously sees wildlife as a disposal commodity. Wildlife should never stand in the way of recreation, he writes. Along with the moral issue, would mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing be as enjoyable if there was no wildlife?
There must be a trail. Mountain biking on the narrow section of upper 133 is dangerous. You can tell mountain bikers that and they will go up there anyway because it is so beautiful. Biologists say a trail along the west side of the highway would be less impactful, so that's where we should go.
You want to save money? Why does the trail have to be paved? Mountain bikers, hikers, and cross-country skiers don't need pavement. If the mountain bikers want smooth surfaces, they should stay on the trail from Carbondale to the KOA campground or the Rio Grande Trail. The upper reaches of the Crystal River are a more primitive area and it should be rougher.
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