Gloria James: Humble outrage

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I am outraged by your article titled “Judges support Humble Ranch” that appeared in the March 24 Steamboat Today. I think it is biased against the Trousils and Humble Ranch. Humble Ranch is not a dude ranch; it is an education and therapy center, which the article mentioned in only one sentence. In the past, the Steamboat Today has printed many excellent articles about the work Humble Ranch does, but none of that information was used. As a former volunteer (for five years) at the ranch, I know firsthand what excellent work they do. They have served hundreds — probably over a thousand by now — clients in Northwest Colorado.

Since I am not affiliated with the ranch now, I would be considered part of “the public.” I see no reason whatsoever why I should have access to their property — much less to expect to use a cabin on their land — especially if it might interfere with their therapy programs.

Each therapy session requires a great deal of concentration on the part of all involved. It would be extremely distracting to have people trooping or riding by while therapy is in session.

I think you owe Humble Ranch an apology, and you owe the public a clear, unbiased explanation of the issues. You might try quoting from the judges’ ruling.

Gloria James

Steamboat Springs

Comments

George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Humble Ranch should open the trails purchased with public money and apologize to the community for the delay and the cost of litigation. That is the outrage.

"Trust and vision aren't law," Mr. Trousil's quote from the article, sums up the Humble attitude. Well, community support and gratitude aren't law either and the Humble doesn't deserve either.

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Mike Lawrence 5 years, 3 months ago

Hi Gloria, Thanks for the letter and your thoughts. Regarding your last sentence, I could not quote the judges' opinion in this case because the Colorado Court of Appeals designated that opinion as unpublished. The copy of the opinion I received is "provided for private use and is not to be included in an electronic database or otherwise published," the court stated. "Citation of unpublished opinions is forbidden," the court continued, with limited exceptions including "to explain the case history or to establish the doctrines of law of the case." Contact me anytime if you'd like to talk further.

All the best,

Mike Lawrence Reporter, Steamboat Pilot & Today 970-871-4233 mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

The public funds paid for land preservation + trails and the money back in 99 paid far the land preservation far more than the trails.

I do not believe that the history of this disputes supports the suggestion that the owners took the money expecting to not provide public access to these trails. It is my recollection that in the meetings to come up with a trail management plan or whatever it was called, that the City said bike trails and the property owners said foot and horse trails because bicyclists flying through would fundamentally interfere with Humble Ranch. And then the dispute has escalated from there with both sides trying to use the contract language to maximize their rights.

Unfortunately for the City, the specific contract language does requires that the owners build a cabin before the public has a right to access the 5 trails in dispute. So guess what, the owners are not going to build or allow others to build that cabin.

The City can continue to fight this apparently hopeless lawsuit (when a judge says verbal promises does not trump specific contract language then that is hard to expect winning at appeals) which can be expected to ensure the owners continue to maximally protect their legal rights which includes keeping the trails closed.

Or the City can concede the hopeless legal fight and turn it into into a public relations situation and ask the owners to open the trails at least under conditions that the owners once claimed was their understanding of the verbal promises. If the owners fail to do that then the public can decide if it is a good idea to try to sway the property owners by hurting special needs kids by not donating to Humble Ranch.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Mike -

Publish the significant passages from agreement. That document must be public and readily available.

Since the therapeutic riding program provides the public relations cover for cheating the public, let's know more about it. Are there no trails, existing or readily cut, elsewhere on the ranch that don't conflict with the public access trails? How often do the therapeutic riders go on the trails in question? Does the ranch profit from the program? How much of the ranch is dedicated to this purpose? What other uses does the ranch have? What are the tax breaks afforded to the ranch from the conservation easement and the therapeutic program? Seems like there's plenty for an article.

Tell us which legal firms are involved while you're at it. The Humble Ranch clearly has a good one.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

"Tell us which legal firms are involved while you're at it. The Humble Ranch clearly has a good one."

And the City clearly has a bad one?

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mtroach 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm a mountain biker and fully belive that bike and hiker/horses can share the trail without conflict, but understand the reluctanct attitude of the Humble ranch to allow bikes full access to their property by the public. I further belive that the Humble ranch is shooting itself in the foot by turning it's nose up at the one organized user group that has the ability to raise money, and volunters to adjust the trail to better control users so that dangeous conflicts can be deminished. That group is the Routt County Riders. The RCR is the only group raising money to build and maintain trails on the BLM's side of Emerald, and with the help of the Rotary this year will have raised close to $50,000 for trail building and maintenance on the BLM's Emerald parcel. If the real sticking point of this trail easement is bike acess, that's easily managed, and with proper trail design, all users can enjoy a positive experence while using the Humble Ranch's protected property. What if bikes are only allowed up the trail, or on even/odd days? If the Humble Ranch want's to turn it's back on the biggest user group in the valley, and the only one that has a verified ability to raise money to improve public lands for all users, so be it. If in fact the Humble Ranch is not willing to consider any bike access, I feel the city should get a public access agreement that excludes bike access. The BLM has already excluded bikes from 2/3's of it's property, noone seemed to be too disturbed about that loss of access, let's just let the access be for foot and horse traffic, and get our city off the back of the Humble Ranch. That way at least someone wil be able to use the property's access, and the city can stop spending good money on this fight.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Brian Ferguson got it right - give back the money.

Rewarding Trousil for his duplicity by negotiating away easements bought and paid for is sick.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

George, I think we need to look at the folks that made this deal, we are big boys. This much money should have been spent with caution. You can't take good intentions to the bank.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Public officials and lawyers surely recognize that their work on the agreement was flawed. Neither Kevin Bennett nor Ben Beall Sr. are currently holding public office so beating them up won't do much good nor do they deserve it. They are good people who negotiated in good faith. As far as the attorneys go, the city has capable, ethical lawyers but I really don't know who wrote the agreement or whether specialists were retained. That's a job for the paper.

The deal is a bad one, clearly, but the Trousils are in the court of public opinion now. "Give the money back or open the trails" may not have a legal chance in Hell but the community can back it up. When the Humble Ranch asks for money or volunteers, say "Not until you repay or open the trails." When you see the Trousils, let them know their actions are reprehensible. Heck, throw a Trousil Tea Party and burn them in effigy but don't take a single step more toward letting them get away with this swindle.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Ed Trousil knew bicycles were part of the trail easement from the start. Potential conflicts didn't stop him from taking $1 million of public money for the trails.

5/13/1999 Routt Clerk and Recorder 510334 B-758 P-640 Quit Claim Deed for Access Easement to Upland Parcel First Part of Easement – Elk Lane for Vehicles for Emergency Administrative and Maintenance Purposes Second Part of Easement – Elk Lane Trail for Pedestrian, Equestrians, and BICYCLES Third Part of Easement – Agate Creek Trail for Pedestrians, Equestrians, and BICYCLES and Vehicles for Emergency Administrative and Maintenance Purposes Signed by Ed Trousil, May 11, 1999

"Trust and vision aren't law" don't adequately describe the mindset of a person who violates the central intent of his agreements.

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greenwash 5 years, 3 months ago

Ed doesnt have the money to give back now...Duh. He spent it to build his mega mansion on cattle drive.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

Not on Weasel Way? It must be a cold, heartless place devoid of humanity with a big money counting room.

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 3 months ago

5/13/1999 Routt Clerk and Recorder 510342 B-758 P-648

Grant of Trail Easement, Elk Lane and Elk Lane Trail Grantor: Humble Ventures Grantee: City of Steamboat Springs The publics use of the easement is limited to pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle use …. “The City also agrees to address and enforce safety issues regarding the passage of bicycle on the Elk Lane Trail and to restrict or regulate bicycle access if such use poses a hazard to equestrian and pedestrian traffic.” Signed by Ed Trousil, May 10, 1999

It's not good enough for Ed to have the assurance that the City will address bicycle-equestrian conflicts if they arise. He'd rather just take the money and give the public nothing at all in return. How does anybody do business with Ed?

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1999 5 years, 3 months ago

WOW!!!

so now the order of the day seems to be to negotiate with liars and theives.

GREAT!

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George Krawzoff 5 years, 2 months ago

Information is now available at http://www.humbleranch.info.

Read the documents for yourself and see if the community doesn't deserve to have the trails on Humble Ranch open.

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