Letter: Take Canyon coalition survey
May 8, 2018
The Glenwood Springs City Council is continuing its consideration of "what to do" with South Canyon. A proposal to commercially develop the hot spring area into an RV park and to build a campground higher in the canyon is still on the table and is attractive to some as a way to make the "problems" of South Canyon go away.
The South Canyon Coalition is trying to make the city and the community aware that commercial development of the canyon is not an appropriate use for what is, in fact, city parkland, and it will actually create several new problems.
The two coal seam fires continue to burn and belch smoke out of their vents, and if another fire breaks out in the canyon then the RVs and campers will be extremely challenged to evacuate in time. The upper campground will be located up-canyon, above the coal seam, which will make evacuation even more unlikely.
The campers will also bring their own fire risk with them and the potential of a human-caused fire will increase exponentially. The '02 Coal Seam Fire started with just a spark and burned 12,000 acres and 29 homes. A cigarette, a catalytic converter, fireworks or a barbecue grill can accomplish the same thing. The campers will also be at risk from conflicts with the bears coming from the landfill in search of food. They have no fear of humans, so the Division of Wildlife will undoubtedly be called upon to kill them — they have no second chance.
Last year, the City Council decided to support the construction of trails in the canyon, which will provide recreational opportunities for bikers, hikers and runners in a way that's never been possible before. South Canyon is a beautiful place filled with varied wildlife, spectacular geology, four distinct ecological communities and a rich history of coal mining and frontier life dating back to the 1880s.
Commercial development of the canyon will severely diminish the quality of the natural experience that we, as a community, can now have on these trails that are currently being built. The upper campground is even proposed to be built right on top of the new trails, which will eliminate them.
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South Canyon is designated city parkland, so it belongs to the residents of Glenwood Springs. The people should, therefore, have a say in what is done with their land, whether it's commercial development or not.
Your voice is important in guiding council's decision on this matter. What do you want? South Canyon Coalition invites and encourages residents to take a poll offering their opinions. Go to surveymonkey.com/r/HYJGXY7.
The answers you provide will be given to the City Council as input from the community regardless of the outcome. Thanks for your time and interest in being involved.
Go to South Canyon soon and bike or hike the new trails. They're awesome. And then thank the City Council for making it happen. They really deserve credit for that.