Marlin Colorado, be a good neighbor |

Marlin Colorado, be a good neighbor

An attempt to take a peaceful walk-through and ride-through of County Road 163 through Prehm Ranch on Wednesday gave residents a clear sense of what kind of a neighbor Marlin Colorado Ltd. will be.

When the group of cyclists, walkers and kids in strollers (a scary bunch, indeed) arrived at the entrance gate, it was closed, locked and guarded by the development company’s attorney, Rick Neiley, of Aspen.

Neiley had called the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, and deputies were on hand to collect the name of anyone who chose to cross the gate.

Not wanting to press the situation, organizers advised the 70-some people to go no farther than the gate, and no one did.

The walk-through and ride-through didn’t happen, but the crowd still made their point. Everyone present said they supported the idea of opening County Road 163 to nonmotorized travel. Cyclist Brian Long, of Glenwood Springs, summed it up, asking, “Does anyone want to be able to ride to Carbondale without dying?”

Neiley may have woven a tangled web of legal arguments aimed at keeping the county road closed to the public, but Long’s point is the bottom line.

There is no safe way for cyclists and walkers to travel between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, and the longstanding closure of County Road 163 is the reason why. Do we need to have a pedestrian or cyclist accident on Highway 82 to prove it?

Moreover, Garfield County has a legitimate claim to a public right of way for the length of County Road 163.

And we fully support the Garfield County Commissioners in pursuing that claim. But should county taxpayers have to spend hundreds of thousands at trial to win?

Marlin Colorado Ltd. should change its tune and become a good neighbor. It should do the right thing and simply concede the right of way to the county. Such action would win wide public acclaim. Its present position will win the company nothing but disdain and continued hounding.

– Heather McGregor, Managing Editor

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