Glade Park trail users will ask county to reopen road

Former users of a rugged jeep trail that wends through scenic brush country to the top of Piñon Mesa on Glade Park — a road closed by Mesa County at the behest of adjacent landowners in April — will have a chance Monday to convince commissioners that the road should not have been closed to public access.

County commissioners hold a regular meeting most Mondays at 9:05 a.m. in the public hearing room at 544 Rood Ave. in Grand Junction.

An item has been added to the agenda for Monday that indicates commissioners will take statements from the public regarding public use of the section of 21 1/2 Road — also known as Jacob’s Ladder Road — closed earlier this year.

The road in question — which has been referenced in county documents since 1883 — is an unpaved and unmaintained right of way that essentially connects the two main roads in the area, Little Park and JS roads.

For people who live nearby, the stretch of road provided direct access to the top of Piñon Mesa for hiking, biking or off-roading.

Now, folks have to hop a long, paved detour to get to the trail system atop the mesa.

“We are extremely excited, because this is what we’ve been asking for, for so many months now,” said Terri Schmitt, who lives in the area.

“It’s a beautiful trail, and so close to our home. I feel like (the closure) has taken away some value from our own property — to not have that direct access that we’ve had.”  

Last winter, a group of private landowners petitioned the county to close the road, based on non-use and a lack of county maintenance.

County planning staff completed a thorough review and recommended approval of the closure in February. The petition was quietly passed with no public comment by commissioners in March.

County residents now opposed to the county action say they had no idea the road was being considered for closure. The county followed all proper procedures in notifying the public.

But opponents say since the notification happened over the winter — when snow covers the road and few people use the trail — regular users had no idea what was planned.

Earlier this year, about 30 opponents grouped together to file a civil complaint in Mesa County District Court, challenging the original application. That case has yet to be heard.

However, the filing of the case seems to have prodded county commissioners into providing a new forum to hear public feedback about use of the trail.

On Monday, opponents plan to let commissioners know their history of usage, and Schmitt says they’ll present more than 80 notarized affidavits claiming as much.

For people who cannot make the Monday hearing, Schmitt encourages them to e-mail county commissioners with their feedback.


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