Martin has own idea for CRMS trail |

Martin has own idea for CRMS trail

John Martin, right, explains his vision for a trail through CRMS while Mike Samson considers.
Will Grandbois / Post Independent |

After considering a pair of possible alignments for a public trail through Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin has proposed his own route along the easement.

County Road 106 was closed to motorized traffic for decades but has been the subject of an ongoing dispute over pedestrian access.

In early 2014, CRMS put in a request to for the county to vacate the right of way. Neighbors in Satank and along Dolores Way opposed the vacation, and commissioners ultimately opted not to approve it.

The conflict began anew when the school began constructing a berm at the south entrance, ostensibly to calm traffic but interpreted by some as a deliberate move to discourage passage. In May, CRMS officials said they were willing to consider the development of a marked trail along the right of way to make it easier for both parties to coexist.

After conducting a survey of the area, the county commissioned plans for a potential trail based on the historical location of the right of way, while staff worked on potential concepts for a license agreement with the school.

In a meeting on July 20, the commissioners reviewed their options — a more expensive, intrusive alignment entirely within the right of way, and another — identified as the preferred option — that crosses private property in an attempt to provide a safer, cheaper route.

CRMS finance director Joe White was hesitant to steer the commissioners one way or another.

“My sense is that our board wouldn’t be thrilled about dedicating additional land, but I also know that there may be some leeway,” he said.

The commissioners themselves seemed mixed on whether they wanted a trail at all.

“I’d rather see us use our funds on trails that are going to be significantly used,” said Tom Jankovsky.

Mike Samson was of a similar mind.

“I don’t want to pave it, and I sure as heck don’t want to maintain it,” he said. “I just want the public to have a safe public right of way through there. … Mark it out, sign it and let it be.”

That’s when Martin’s own scribbled map made an appearance. It depicts a trail entirely within the easement, with a pair of fences detouring internal traffic away from where it crosses from one side of the easement to the other. In doing so, it effectively dedicates the right of way to pedestrians and sends campus traffic through private gates to reach different parts of campus.

“At that point it is a nonmotorized through street, and you’ve lived up to your 1979 resolution,” he said.

His motion to approve the plan was met with a desire for a more formal drawing, and the final vote was postponed for the July 27 meeting.

In the interim, the commissioners decided to tour the route once again.

“It’s less intrusive than what was designed. It’s going to be safer and cheaper,” Martin told the crowd of neighbors and school representatives as he walked them through his vision the next day. “We want safe passage, and we want a safe campus. I’d like to get it done so people can get on with the summer, get ready for school and not be at each others’ throats.”

Despite his confidence, he admitted that you “have to count to two” to make something happen on the county level. Samson’s hearty “amen” and Jankovsky’s stony silence hint on how that might turn out.

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