Crystal trail would be government indulgence
October 17, 2017
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has been soliciting opinions for months about the preferred alignment of the proposed bike path in the Crystal Valley.
This process is skewed and fatally flawed. Governments know that if they control the dialogue, they control the issues. Nowhere in the opinion-gathering process has there been an option for residents to oppose any additional path. Wildlife is also not given an option for "none of the above" — evidently they don't speak English or have online access.
Open Space and Trails has conveniently deflected attention away from the "none of the above" option to focus attention on where a path should go — like its existence is a foregone conclusion — and has garnered opinion in a skewed process to gain an answer they want, just as Delia Malone and others contend.
I initially favored a path that did not encroach on three ancient wintering grounds for elk. I have owned a Carbondale business for 12 years and lived there 17 years before buying a Redstone home and business in 2016. A bike path could help my business. But, like most people, I moved to Redstone because it's not Carbondale — let alone Glenwood or Denver.
People visit the Crystal Valley because it's one of the last relatively undeveloped areas on the Western Slope. With the push by Pitkin County and others to designate it "wild and scenic," why is there this big push to put in a trail, hundreds of people, and thousands of tons of pavement?
There's no shortage of local bike paths already. The list goes on and on — and the opportunity to bike up Highway 133 has always existed — and numerous arteries along it.
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With all those made homeless by hurricanes — and now California fires — why's it a priority for our government to spend millions on a bike path in nature? Shouldn't we keep this a relatively wild area and save tax dollars for worthy national causes or a potential local crisis? Are we that narcissistic and indulgent?
I don't think so. Please tell Pitkin and Open Space and Trails online that we care more about wildlife and fellow citizens than about a bike path that's not needed. Respectively tell them "none of the above."
David E. Johnson
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