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Public Weighs In On Draft Plan For Crystal Valley Trail

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

More than 250 people submitted comments on a proposed trail through the Crystal River Valley. Pitkin County released them Thursday; there is general support for the trail, but concerns remain.

The draft plan for a trail that would eventually connect Carbondale to Crested Butte is extensive. In addition to identifying route options for some of the trail, it lays out plans to improve wildlife habitat, study weeds and build new parking areas.

Survey responses show broad support for actions focused on preserving biodiversity, like studying bighorn sheep and improving habitat.

About 78 percent of respondents support building the trail. There’s not as clear consensus on where it should run.

Some respondents are concerned about wildlife impacts and private property rights if any segments of the trail are on the east side of the Crystal River, away from Hwy 133. But about 50 percent support an alignment that would separate at least some portions from the busy highway.

Open Space and Trails staff will use the comments as they finalize the plan, which will be reviewed by the program board and county commissioners in early September.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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