Commissioners stand pat regarding CRMS path
Colorado Rocky Mountain School officials and Carbondale-area residents who have been working to designate a public foot and bike path through the campus seem to be in agreement on a route that follows the historic Garfield County road right of way.
But county commissioners, during a Monday discussion, once again had to deal with a last-minute alternative suggested by representatives of the private school that would avoid the historic easement through the middle of the campus.
Mike McCoy, who heads the CRMS board of trustees, offered what he and other board members thought to be a better option, building a trail along the eastern and southern perimeter of the campus and connecting two existing trails along County Road 106 and Dolores Way.
“We believe this would be a preferred trail, because it gives complete separation of uses,” McCoy said of potential conflicts with cars and students passing to and from classes in the central part of the campus.
“We would be willing to dedicate this easement, if the county would close, not vacate, but close the right of way” to public foot traffic, McCoy said.
A similar option was suggested last year when county commissioners denied a formal request by CRMS to vacate the right of way, which was closed by the county to vehicle traffic in the late 1970s but was maintained for nonmotorized access.
Again, though, commissioners split 2-1 Monday in reaffirming an earlier decision for the school to honor the public’s right to pass through the campus and to establish a clearly marked path along the right of way.
CRMS representatives met June 1 with neighborhood designees and county officials to begin to hammer out details for an improved public path.
According to county planner Tamra Allen, general consensus was reached to have a paved, 8-foot-wide path follow the west side of the existing driveway from the school’s main entrance on County Road 106 to a point about a third of the way through the campus.
From there, it would cross over the driveway and continue along the east side next to the school’s soccer field and out to Dolores Way following what’s already a worn foot path.
Certain rules would be posted on either end of the trail, including prohibiting motorized vehicles, making sure users stay on the designated path, keeping pets on a leash, and disallowing alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs and firearms.
Hours may also be restricted to prevent nighttime use of the trail.
Several members of the public spoke in favor of sticking to the plan for a path along the historic right of way.
“Putting a trail there, let’s face it, helps protect your right of way,” said Patrick Hunter, who lives in the nearby Satank neighborhood. “It’s a trail that would be a real asset for the community, and in time I think CRMS will see it as a benefit.”
Commissioners John Martin and Mike Samson agreed the county right of way is the best path to follow for pedestrian and bicycle access.
“People have the right to go through there, and we need to keep that,” Samson said.
Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said he would like to consider the alternative offered by CRMS. He also opposed any expense of county money to pave and maintain the trail in the future.
“If there is going to be a pathway through CRMS, I would like it to be a soft surface,” Jankovsky said, adding he would support a paved path along the alternative route if that were to be considered.
Commissioners asked county staff to report back July 13 with a more specific proposal and plan to complete the trail.
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