Routt County cycling group avoids Humble Ranch debate

Routt County Riders not taking side on Humble Ranch issue

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Read previous stories about the city’s litigation with Humble Ventures, and a letter to the Steamboat Pilot & Today from Ed and Cheri Trousil.

From Thursday

From June 18

From April 15

April 4 letter from the Trousils

March 31 letter from Gloria James

From March 24

— Routt County Riders is not taking a position on the city’s ongoing litigation with Humble Ranch regarding public trail access on land south of Emerald Mountain.

“This is kind of a landowners’ dispute from what I understand, and right now, Routt County Riders does not see that it should be involved in the legal battle,” said Robin Craigen, president of the cycling group. “We’re advocating that bicyclists and Routt County riders, in all cases, should respect private property rights and private property boundaries.”

The city has a pending petition filed with the Colorado Supreme Court, asking it to review a ruling in favor of Humble Ranch made in Routt County District Court and upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals. The litigation began in 2007 and has cost the city more than $100,000.

The closed trails would provide access to the south side of Emerald Mountain and the Cow Creek area, via the Humble Ranch property off Routt County Road 14.

Coordinating the Humble Ranch purchase brought together numerous public entities and private landowners more than a decade ago. Many people involved in the purchase say opening those trails to the public was a key component of correlated efforts by the Yampa River System Legacy Project and the Emerald Mountain Partnership.

Landowner Ed Trousil has said the trails’ closure is to protect wildlife habitat and prevent impacts on the Humble Ranch Education & Therapy Center, which provides therapy in the outdoors for people with special needs.

The trails in question are along the Division of Wildlife’s public Agate Creek trail, accessed through an easement via the private Elk Lane. There is public parking at a DOW lot off C.R. 14 for the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area.

The Agate Creek trail ends at a gate into the Emerald Mountain State Wildlife Area, which adjoins Bureau of Land Management lands.

The state Division of Wildlife closes the Emerald Mountain State Wildlife Area from Dec. 1 to June 30, because of elk concerns. The Agate Creek trail also is closed during those dates, but that issue remains part of the city’s ongoing litigation.

Steve Baumgartner, wildlife technician with the state Division of Wildlife, said cycling is not allowed at any time on the Agate Creek trail or on Elk Lane.

“The no bicycles (regulation) from the parking lot at Chuck Lewis … from that point all the way up into our property, we don’t allow any bicycles on the trail,” Baumgartner said. “That’s a Division of Wildlife regulation.”

Baumgartner said bicycle use is a “mechanical access” prohibited to minimize disturbance on wildlife.

“One of the things about where we live is that we want to respect the land that we live in,” Craigen said. “When the DOW has those kind of concerns, then certainly, we encourage our membership to respect those concerns.”

Routt County Riders is taking advantage of public, cycle-friendly lands in the area, though, by building two new trails on a nearby Bureau of Land Management parcel. Craigen said one of those trails will be called the Beall Trail, after Ben Beall, a former Routt County commissioner and former chairman of the Emerald Mountain Partnership.

Beall was very involved with efforts leading to the purchase of Humble Ranch.

Routt County Riders is building a second trail in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs. Craigen said the new trails will create a loop down to the Cow Creek area, through BLM land, and back up to the top of Emerald Mountain.

“These are going to be two epic, awesome rides right on our doorstep,” Craigen said. “So that’s where our focus is right now.”

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

What a shame, If the RCR had taken a more proactive role in this dispute maybe they could have told the city to not spend so much time and money on this trail to nowhere. For me, for Steamboat to be considered a BTUSA this town would need a bike advocacy group is was not afraid to take a position on one side or another of an issue that directly pertains to bike access. Even if the position was in support of a landowner's rights and against bike access to a sensitive wildlife area. Robin@RCR has no problem going against bike access when it involves making his personal hiking trail a safe one way trail(creekside). Sending the city a message that litigation should not be the answer could have saved $100,000 of city funds that couuld have been used for city workers salries, or even to fund a disc golf course. As a seatholder on the Emerald Mountain Partnership, the RCR would have known all about this deal from day one, letting the city persue litigation over sitting down with the landowner and explaining how bike access could benifit the community and the Humble ranch should have been the top priority of such a proactive bike group.

I am really disappointed by this nonposition from RCR leadership

I wonder how having city P&R worker as the trail director for the only bike advocacy group effects the RCR's decisions with regards to issues at P&R?

I wonder if bike access was removed from the table if the Humble ranch would reconsider opening the trails to hikers, runners and other non-bike users?

Lastly, I wonder why this issue was not brought to our attention before the city spent so much on litigation? Is anyone else stunned by how much our city has spent on this issue?

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routtcountyriders 3 years, 9 months ago

MT please read my comments in the Creekside article before you slam me or RCR in this forum.

I was not personally involved with the Emerald Mountain Partnership so I cannot comment on that.

It is disappointing to see situations where trail access is removed or denied. RCR is a community cycling group and we have spent considerable efforts to highlight the benefits of cycling to the community. We will continue to do this. We will also continue to stress that private property rights should be respected at all times.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Well. looks like RCR has declared itself irrelevant as a know nothing, see nothing organization.

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boater1 3 years, 9 months ago

is robbin steering w/o direction? if steamboat is gonna be bike town usa then rcr is gonna be the voice of that direction and needs to take stands on issues. in the end you can't please everyone and must take a stand on what you represent. same thing has to happen to quickly resolve the growing creekside trail issue. conflicts will and do happen. trying your best to resolve for all is best but that doesn't always work. if rcr represents bicylist best interests in the yampa valley then do it!

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boater1 3 years, 9 months ago

what i see is rcr as a group started by a bunch of local riders getting together to ride and create some trails. times are changing.

if the club wants to make steamboat into bike town usa it must also evolve to be the voice and force behind that change. creating bike town usa from nothing is gonna be painfull and forcefull at time.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

Please stop BTUSA.

steamboat place will be more of a mess than i alreadyt is.

clearly RCR should not be at the helm of such a large project.

someone hold me...I'm scarred

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routtcountyriders 3 years, 9 months ago

The CAVE-MEN have arrived: "Citizens Against Virtually Everything"!

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

wrong again robin...just against Titles Without Substance

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

So if I am against BTUSA I must be against everything?

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boater1 3 years, 9 months ago

The CAVE-MEN have arrived: "Citizens Against Virtually Everything"!

i'm all for btusa & access to HR. whether your group likes it or not, you're gonna be the voice of all of it.

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

RCR/Robin, sorry if you feel that I'm slamming you or the RCR, I'm just blown away that the RCR board cannot put together some type of statement on this mattter, I know personally that members of the RCR(myself included) were involved from the start of this mess, advising the city's P&R as to this course of action. I should not have made such an attack on you or your club, but I cannot for any reason see why this matter has grown to be such an expense for our city. Litigation should have been stopped long ago. That's where my frustrated comments are based, not at the RCR or you but our city P&R. They have made choices that have cost us $100,000 for a small trail that currently leads to nowhere, both the BLM, and DOW do not have links for this trail to join to, and without a "backdoor" on the Humble ranch this access is irrelevent. If I had known how much was being spent, I would have lobbied for non litigation from the start. The city now needs to admit defeat and stop spending money on this matter, and I feel a responsible group of cyclists should press the point that no trail access is worth $100,000. I had hoped that the RCR would be that sensible group of cyclists.

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routtcountyriders 3 years, 9 months ago

MT, I recommend that you come to the next RCR meeting and present the argument to the RCR Board and members present that there needs to be other action on HR. I am not the lone decider. (Of course you will have to reveal your identity...)

We meet on August 2nd at 5:30pm in the Library Hall meeting room. At 6:30pm we will take comment on any item not on the agenda.

With our very full agenda, and limited volunteer resources we have been focusing on the fact that we are building two large new trails on the backside of Emerald (the Rotary Trail and the Beall Trail) that will add significantly to the riding experience that we already have on our doorstep. These are real and significant improvements that we can actually implement.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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Robin,

When you advise MT that to present his position to RCR he will have to "reveal his identity", you may have mixed messages. The person who posts as MT will need to state his name, but not to acknowledge that he also is mtroach, contributor to this forum.

There are any number of people who might speak at the meeting about the same topic.

People who use their real names on this forum must accept that the criticizems will be more personal. The anonymous posters also get savaged, but only for what they have said herein.

.

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin you represent the wrong ideas with that RCR logo on your profile.. Your wack! Get out of the way.. DOWNHILL DOMINATION !!!

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dave fisher 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin; RCR needs to grow a set.

i would gladly join your organization it you guys would for once take a position on the truly difficult issues... but time and time again RCR is too busy "building trails" to sack up. you don't have to be "involved in a legal battle" to take the position that is right (especially on this one in particular).

hey! look over there! trails! bike town usa!

what a joke.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

George, Looks to me like RCR wants to offend no one so that they can concentrate on building trails. So be it.

That just means that if there there is to be a bicycle advocacy organization then it needs to be created. Seems to me the George Krawzoff would be the perfect guy to head it since he has knowledge in the transportation field and knows what is possible, he is capable of arguing for bicyclists and has reasonable judgment of what are worthwhile issues.

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routtcountyriders 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree 100% that Gretchen (a member of the RCR board and Chair of the RCR Trails Committee), and Mark deserve high praise for the new trails that they have helped us all to create. Numerous volunteers have given hours of their time to help some of the finest sustainable trails in Colorado. Thank you all!

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin, alas I'm not going to be a paid-up member of RCR any time soon and don't think that concerns put to the board from a non-member would carry much weight. I assume that the RCR board operates at the direction of it's membership, and not at the whim of an anonymous internet blogger.

And please, you can call me Roach, Mtroach or a CAVE man, but only my close friends, and (sometimes Mom when she is angry) call me Mt.

PS; by all means Thanks to MGS for all the hard volunteer work they do for the community trails. They really are the backbone of the RCR trail creation efforts.

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