Pointless politization of Crystal trail
A number of questions arise immediately upon seeing the title of the article “Wilderness Workshop’s trail efforts incense Pitkin County officials” (Dec. 4, The Aspen Times).
Why was the article released almost three weeks after a work session of the Pitkin County BOCC on Nov. 14 at which the author, Jason Auslander, was apparently present? Did he quote Commissioners Rachel Richards, George Newman and Patti Clapper correctly?
If so, why so long in getting the venom out? Nov. 14 was near the deadline of the 15th for receiving public comment on the preferred Open Space and Trails trail alignment up the Crystal River Valley. Did the BOCC receive unwelcome public input from the Wilderness Workshop? If so, why did some commissioners react so emotionally? Did the input from the
Wilderness Workshop warrant Commissioner Newman saying he had trouble with the $20,000
Healthy Community Fund award to Wilderness Workshop? Does every agency in the community have to agree with wishes of the commissioners or risk loss of county funds? For instance, would the Roaring Fork Conservancy risk losing county funding if they do not agree with all of the elements of the Filoha Meadows Nature Preserve Management Plan? Say if they did not agree with a high-impact, recreational trail aligned directly through the Filoha Nature Preserve? The Conservancy does an outstanding job of administering minimal impact recreational activities within the Nature Preserve.
The Wilderness Workshop has for many years had a well documented record of transparency, integrity and protection of our regional environment. They have never been on record as being against the Crested Butte to Carbondale Trail. In keeping with their own mission statement, they would be required to endorse a preferred trail alignment up the Crystal Valley and to the top of McLure Pass that would minimally impact wildlife habitat and the rural and scenic values of the Crystal Valley.
I do not believe that Commissioners Richards, Clapper and Newman would violate their own County Ecological Bill of Rights and their new Open Space and Trails biodiversity policy! There is no reason to make this political.
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