Closure of a connecting trail on private property angers some Steamboat Springs residents
June 5, 2017
No trespassing signs that have gone up on a local trail have severed a busy walking and cycling route off of Palo Verde Lane and caused some members of the community to mistakenly cast their anger at a homeowner who just happens to live next to the trail.
Kasha Banas, who actually does own the property the very short trail crosses through, said the no trespassing signs were put up because she and her husband fear there's a liability issue with having the trail on their property.
"If someone gets hurt, we don't want to be held liable for it," she said Monday. "We don't want to maintain it, and we don't want to be liable.
The Banases bought the property, which has been vacant, in October. They are currently building a duplex on the site, which does not have a public access easement.
Kasha Banas said they are open to talking with the city about acquiring and maintaining such an easement in the future.
The trail connects neighborhoods on the south side of Fish Creek Falls Road to Mauna Kea Lane and the Blue Sage and Spring Creek trails to the north.
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People who use the trail ultimately avoid traveling on Tamarack Drive, which lacks sidewalks.
Ben Weaver lives in a brown house on Locust Court right next to the piece of connecting trail that was recently closed.
He said some residents have mistakenly identified him as the culprit for posting the no trespassing signs.
"We've been taking the brunt of people's anger," Weaver said. "It's been kind of a pain. I end up stopping people to tell them it's not us" who put up the signs.
Weaver, who is a fan of the trail, said he estimates at least 100 people use it daily.
"We use it all the time," he said. "It really is a logical connector."
Weaver said he often sees a police car stopped on Fish Creek Falls Road to help children on their way to school cross the street where the trail meets the pavement.
Weaver added he wants his neighbors and trail users to know that if an access easement cannot be obtained on the neighboring property, he is open to hosting an access easement on his own parcel.
City Councilman Scott Ford, who lives near the trail, is asking his fellow council members whether they would like to see the city pursue a public access easement.
He thinks the trail is a popular route for children to take to the schools in Strawberry Park.
"This is a popular access point," Ford wrote in a memo to his fellow council members. "The only other alternative is to have individuals walk/bike along Tamarack and down Fish Creek Falls Road – a total of 440 yards. This mean a lot of traffic exposure in an area without sidewalks to children, bikers, dog walkers, etc., as opposed to the 20 yards this access point has been providing."
City Parks, Open Space and Trails Manager Craig Robinson wrote in an email that the city has some concerns about the crossing on Fish Creek Falls Road right after the trail.
He told Ford the city may be able to gain an easement if some safety measures were installed at the intersection to make the street crossing safer.