Trail users tout use of Glade Park road
In March, Mesa County commissioners approved the closure of a rugged and scenic road that connects two main arteries near Piñon Mesa on Glade Park — with little fanfare and zero public comment about the decision.
On Monday, nearly every seat in the public hearing room was filled, with dozens of residents anxious to let commissioners know their disappointment about the closure.
Trail users of all stripes — jeepers, mountain bikers, horse riders, dirt bike riders, hikers — told two of the three county commissioners that indeed they do regularly use the section of South 21 1/2 Road, connecting JS Road and Little Park Road, which was closed earlier in the year at the behest of adjacent landowners.
“We’ve been consistently using this since 2000 ... We use it every year, several times a year, mainly to access Enoch Lake,” said Laurinda Conrad. “We feel like it took a lot from the community (when it was closed).”
“We love to hike up there in spring and see the flowers and watch the different seasons transgress,” said Connie Rosenthal.
“For me and a lot of my friends that I ride with, we access through the Tabeguache trail system, and it becomes an epic ride when you include 21 1/2 Road,” said David Kareus.
Many others claimed usage of the road since the 1940s, and still others said they had heard of it being used for generations even before that. The road has been referenced in county documents since 1883.
“It’s a shame that we have to fight so hard to keep our public lands public,” said Del Martin, who said he and his family have used the road for more than 40 years.
In the original application for vacation, or closure to the public, one of the arguments made by the applicants was lack of use. That notion was clearly debunked Monday.
Still, many who spoke expressed concern with how the process unfolded.
“I would like you to review your own review process, to see how it is that this slipped through,” Dave Brock said.
“I’m concerned about the manner in which this resource was taken from the public,” said Dave Grossman, coordinator with the Grand Valley Trails Alliance.
“They put the (notification) signs up in the winter, in a winter when there was not enough snow for the snowshoers, too much snow for the jeepers like myself — it was very cleverly done. Due process was not followed,” said Edward Cole.
A number of those who appeared Monday are plaintiffs in a civil complaint challenging a number of assertions in the original application. Commissioners Janet Rowland and Steve Acquafresca agreed to direct the county attorney to provide to the court the details of Monday’s testimony.