Letter: Reopen Beaver Creek access
The closure of the Beaver Creek access south of Rifle is a sour splat on the enthusiasm of many winter recreationilists who enjoy the snowy solitude to be found below Mamm Peak on the northeast edge of the Grand Mesa. The meadows and glades on the east-facing slope of Beaver Creek are some of the most beginner-friendly backcountry routes to be found in the area.
The last two years, in addition to the stoplight and heavy truck traffic, local ski tourers and splitboaders were able to enjoy the convenience of a maintained road, and being able to park right across from the skin track. Most users carpool in, and three cars are enough to be considered a crowd.
Having to hike in a mile and half this year burns a bit more for seeing the road is maintained same as it was before. If the road is going to see enough traffic from neighboring landowners to justify regular maintenance, does closing out access to a handful of vehicles from the public really improve the quality of “forage, cover and solitude” for wildlife?
At a time when Rifle is working to establish its outdoor recreation opportunities, and LiveWell Garfield County is striving to become the healthiest in the state, reopening public access to Forest Service Road 824 and some of the sweetest and safest terrain Rifle has for human-powered winter exploring would be a great step in partnership on the Forest Service’s part.
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