New Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon's dream of the community coming together to set a world record is having trouble getting untangled from red tape.
Scanlon, who took office this month, has a vision of gathering between 1,700 and 2,000 Basalt and other midvalley residents to create a continuous chalk drawing along the Rio Grande Trail. The drawing would have to be longer than 4.2 miles, wider than 6 feet, 6 inches and completed in one day in order to qualify in the Guinness Book of World Records, Scanlon said.
He does his homework. As town manager of Mission, Kan., he led the community to a world record for the largest painting done with people's feet. The point of pursuing a record isn't necessarily to gain national recognition, he said. It's to bring the residents of the community together and instill a sense that anything can be accomplished.
So Scanlon envisions an integrated chalk drawing that shows river and streams filled with rocks and fish. The drawing would celebrate Basalt's location at the confluence of two Gold Medal trout streams, signifying the large size and number of trout.
He would like to attempt the drawing between the Wingo Junction pedestrian bridge and the Emma school house.
Scanlon discussed the idea with Roaring Fork Transportation Authority President and CEO Dan Blankenship this week. Both men said the world-record attempt could be tied into RFTA's expansion of its bus service, which will be launched in September. The event could potentially be staged on Labor Day for maximum exposure, Blankenship said. Buses could be used to get volunteers to different parts of the project more quickly, he said, and a helicopter would fly over to get pictures of the creation.
Blankenship outlined the concept Thursday to RFTA's board of directors and got a mixed, though unofficial, reception. Pitkin County Commissioners and RFTA board members Michael Owsley and George Newman noted the concept faces hurdles.
"I guess I'm not as excited about this," Newman told Blankenship. He said he is definitely opposed to staging the event on the busy Labor Day weekend, since it would likely require the trail to be closed for a day. He said he also opposes a helicopter "hovering over."
Newman said Pitkin County Open Space and Trails should be allowed to weigh in on the concept, since it oversees the stretch of trail proposed to be used, and the Emma Caucus should also be approached.
Owsley said the proposed chalk drawing would also need special-event review by Pitkin County. It would be much simpler if the event was held within the town of Basalt, he said.
Blankenship said it would be tough for the town to stage an event on 4.2 miles of trail within its jurisdiction.
In that case, Owsley said, maybe Basalt could enlist residents to "hold hands" on the town's perimeter to set a record.
Other RFTA board members were more welcoming of the idea. Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot said she was all for the use of the trail as long as RFTA gets equal billing on the world record.
Glenwood Springs Mayor Matt Steckler said his city would probably love to host the event if it couldn't be worked out elsewhere.