Snowmass Council OK’s new cutoff trail, questions why no dogs allowed
A new cutoff trail by the Mountain View housing complex to access the Rim Trail has the Snowmass Village Town Council in a bit of a canine conundrum.
The council unanimously approved Monday night building the three-tenths-of-a-mile trail that will connect the existing Mountain View Trail to the popular Rim Trail. The cutoff will move users out of the current makeshift connection, which is the parking lot at the Mountain View complex, and above the housing and Hawk Ridge Lane.
The town will spend $4,000 for the new Hawk Ridge Trail, which will make a horseshoe-shaped section along a ridge above the housing area, but council questioned why there was the suggestion of not allowing dogs on that short section.
The dog access is one that some homeowners in the deed-restricted units brought up at two of three meetings with the Parks, Open Space, Trails and Recreation Plan advisory board. Since dogs are not allowed at the housing complex, the owners feel dogs should not be allowed on the trail near the housing. There also were concerns raised at the meetings about the interaction with wildlife.
Mayor Markey Butler, who said she hikes the area with her dogs, and other council members questioned that canine access and if it was fair to allow dogs on the trails on either side but not on the new shortcut. As well, council referenced the safety suggestion that it would take dogs and owners out of parking lots and onto the trail, like the other users.
“Why are we restricting dogs? Compliance will be less than 10 percent (of people not bringing their dogs),” Butler said. “A lot of us hike that trail with our dogs. … To me, it’s discriminatory.”
At the urging of Town Manager Clint Kinney, council approved the funding so work could begin on the trail, but they did not approve the access issue. Councilman Bob Sirkus was not at Monday’s meeting.
Currently, signs would be put up at either end of the trail to let users know dogs are not allowed on that section of the trail, Kinney said, and people with dogs would have to go through the parking lot.
“I think it’s important to be consistent with our trails,” Councilman Bill Madsen said. “It seems acceptable to me (to have dogs on the trail). I don’t see how having dogs on that trail is going to be an issue with wildlife.”
Councilors said they would like to hear directly from the residents about the dog concerns and will set up a comment time at an upcoming council meeting. After that, they’ll decide on the canine component.
“It’s quite a little political conundrum,” parks and open space advisory board chair Jeff Kremer said during his presentation to the council.
A bulk of construction on the new trail will be June 1, which is National Trails Day. The town will work with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association to roundup volunteers to work on the trail that day. City staff will finish what’s left after that weekend.
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The Snowmass Club Golf Course and the trails at Sky Mountain Park are back in action for the summer starting this week.