Trees, not trail, getting the ax |

Trees, not trail, getting the ax

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox (with Carrie's story) The cutting of oakbrush at a new home construction near the Linwood Cemetery path in Glenwood has raised some concerns among area residents.

Chain saws removed thick layers of oak brush and oak trees along the south side of the historic trail leading to Doc Holliday’s grave last week, distressing some Glenwood Springs residents as well as Cindy Hines, director of the Frontier Historical Museum. “Monday, they started in with the chain saws,” said Shelly Kaup, who lives directly across the street from the cemetery trailhead, the beginning of a short, half-mile hike to Doc Holliday’s final resting place. “What we had hoped was that the city, possibly working with Aspen Valley Land Trust, would purchase the lot next to the trail. But now, those old oaks are gone, along with any type of character that trail had. It’s tragic.” The vegetation was on private property – one of three lots owned by Glenwood real estate broker and developer Todd Leahy, and his partner Jon Creech.Even if the city had purchased the lot, though, the trees and brush would have been removed anyway because of an agreement the owners of the property made with the city, said Andrew McGregor, Glenwood Springs community development director. trail: see page 3trail: from page 1

“One of the challenges of that property is that it’s in a debris flow hazard area,” said McGregor. “The owners were required to construct a debris flow berm up behind the property, curving around and running parallel to the trailhead and a ditch. “The bad news is that we lost a lot of beautiful mature vegetation,” McGregor said. “The good news is that the area now has some added protection from a potential debris flow event.” Needed more timeThe property on the trailhead’s south side, which includes four city lots, had just one house on it, which has since been removed. A neighbor purchased the southernmost lot, and Leahy and Creech purchased two lots about a year and a half ago, according to Shelly Kaup. The developers are currently building two houses on the two center lots. The trail is bisected lengthwise by the northern edge of the fourth lot, which has changed hands several times in the past few years. According to Kaup, the lot was sold to another party before Leahy and Creech purchased it. The developers then approached city officials seeking approval for their development. “I give the developers tremendous credit,” McGregor said. “They were very cooperative with us, and deeded to the city the portion of the lot that’s part of the trail.”

McGregor said Leahy and Creech also gave the city the opportunity to purchase the remainder of the lot, but the city wasn’t able to find a funding source in time.”They gave us about a month, and we needed about six months,” he said. “The city just couldn’t respond quickly enough.”McGregor said the developers have since secured a buyer for the remainder of the lot. He said he didn’t remember the price, and doesn’t know who has purchased it from Leahy and Creech. Leahy could not be reached for comment. Path stays busyThe trail is the original pathway that horse-drawn hearses used in the 1800s to reach the entrance of the Linwood Cemetery, since renamed Pioneer Cemetery. A second road which starts a block above the trail, was built in the 1920s, to accommodate motorized hearses, and leads to the rear of the cemetery.Kaup said Leahy purchased the property about a year and a half ago. Leahy tore down the one house that was on four buildable lots. A neighbor purchased one of the lots, and Leahy now has two houses under construction on two of the lots.For Kendall Spyker, who lives in an historic Victorian just north of the Pioneer Cemetery trailhead, the trail, with its massive oak canopy, is one of the reasons he and his wife Meredith purchased their Bennett Avenue house.

“It’s pretty entrancing,” Spyker said. “People used to be able to escape into the woods.”He said in the 15 years he’s lived near the trail, he’s been continually amazed at how many people visit it.”It’s astonishing,” he said. “We see group after group, tons of tour buses, locals, droves of pedestrians walking up from town make the pilgrimage. Doc is a huge asset to the city.””Behind the Hot Springs and the Caverns, we’ve estimated Doc Holliday’s grave is Glenwood’s third most popular attraction,” Hines said. “We have so many people who come by the museum looking for the cemetery that we’ve printed a map to the trailhead. Thousands and thousands of people go to Doc Holliday’s graves every year.” Spyker said Glenwood may have lost its chance to preserve one of the city’s most important treasures. “Here’s an incredible opportunity for philanthropy,” he said. “Instead of putting another house up or developing that land, do something memorable and lasting.”Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext.

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