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The 2003 Crystal River Master Plan encourages acquisition of open space and applauds county efforts to protect the diversity of species and habitats within this valley. This week the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Department will finalize a draft management plan on the designated preserve in the open space. The accompanying habitat and wildlife study illuminates rare orchids, rushes, fireflies, bats, shrublands and wetlands. Together with the elk and bighorn sheep production and winter concentrations justify the preserve status, and is supported by the 2007 Crystal River Wildlife Report. The OST staff says Filoha is one of the most biologically diverse properties in the OST program.Pitkin County Crystal River Valley residents are not opposed to the nature preserve public access. The management plan calls for two kinds of public access to the preserve. This is where the majority of residents and the OST staff differ. One access point, corridor B, will be along an old road that will be allowed to revegetate and reduce in width to four feet. The surface will remain dirt, and will allow visitors access to the beaver wetlands where bird, wildlife viewing and interpretation are possible. Access will be limited to guided groups.The other access point, corridor A, will allow unrestricted summer foot traffic the entire length of the preserve, and will be maintained six- to eight-feet-wide as a soft-surface trail of crusher fines. The general concern of valley residents is that this trail would be the precursor to the Crystal River Bike Trail coming from Avalanche Creek and Redstone from the south, and threaten the preserve with violations of orchids and rare species. My public comment was that corridor A be maintained as an interpretive path limited to groups guided by staff or trained volunteers. This is the position of nearly 350 residents who have filed petition with the OST staff and county commissioners. The OST staff should support their own critical habitat findings and the Crystal River’s Wildlife Report and treat the preserve with the respect it deserves, and not invite progressive urbanization of this unique valley.William HanksRedstone

We were sitting down and enjoying breakfast reading the paper when my wife burst out laughing. She was reading Bruno Kirchenwitz’s letter in response to mine. Being I have placed him on my not-to-read list, I had to settle for her reading it to me.I never intended Singapore’s extreme laws against drugs to be an answer to America’s problem. I only wanted to express the fact that Singapore thought the problem was serious enough to warrant the death penalty for those who supplied illegal drugs to their citizens. I thought a “Draconian doobie dogma” was something the lady who walks the German shepherd leaves on my lawn every Sunday morning.You are right about American law changing like a dirty diaper, but when was the last time they asked you if it was OK to do so?Your concept of Jesus is a little different than what the Bible portrays. He did “hang out with whores and political dissidents,” but he did so because he knew they needed help. He brought the prostitute out of that lifestyle and changed her life completely. He made a tax collector who was getting rich cheating the people see the truth and give the money back with interest. You should read the letters Paul wrote if you think the disciples made up the rules for their own profit. All but one of the disciples died terrible deaths defending their faith.I, too, find God in the mountains, but I also find him riding my Harley down old Highway 6 & 24. I find him in the faces of my grandchildren and sometimes when sitting in traffic in Glenwood Canyon, but in all honesty, he is harder to find there.I am not “righteous” by any means, but I do fear recreational drug users as I fear recreational drinkers. Both are responsible for too many accidents and deaths.Bruno, I know you very well. You are me 30 years ago.Norm ShrollGlenwood Springs

What do we have to do – go swimming in the Colorado River? Before we get the road and the bridges fixed out on the Colorado River Road. Rose BeardenBurns


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