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Prehm Ranch decision appalling

Gerry Vanderbeek

Dear Editor,

I, for one, was appalled and stunned to learn that Garfield County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to vacate any public right of way through Prehm Ranch. By their vote, Walt Stowe and Larry McCown recklessly and irresponsibly surrendered without compromise the legitimate claims of the county to a hiking and biking trail. In the process they rewarded Prehm Ranch for illegally bulldozing a road and their uncivil actions towards members of the community who on Aug. 14 held a peaceful demonstration in favor of a trail through the ranch.

Especially galling is Walt Stowe’s justification for this surrender on the basis that the county’s right of way falls 200 feet short of the Westbank! Walt, you surely know that in business as in politics leverage is the thing. In this case the existing right of way provided the County with excellent leverage that could have forced Prehm Ranch to a trail compromise acceptable to the public and fair to all parties. As you prepare to run for re-election, please explain to us how you served the public by your vote to give up this unique opportunity for a highly desirable alternative recreational corridor between Carbondale and Glenwood.

It is a good thing that the election season is upon us. At last count Glenwood and Carbondale account for more than half the county’s voters. I trust that the voters in eastern Garfield county will remember your Prehm Ranch vote on election day.

I have not yet read your opponent Tresi Houpt’s platform, but I firmly believe that an elected official who carelessly surrenders a valuable public asset without achieving public benefits in return of equal or superior value is forfeiting the public’s trust and does not deserve to be re-elected!

Sincerely,

Gerry Vanderbeek

Glenwood Springs


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