Follow up: scratching the backcountry rash

A few quick notes or updates following last week’s backcountry rash editorial:

—We received an email Tuesday morning from Gunnison County public works director Marlene Crosby. She said county workers would be heading up to see if they could help with the Gothic Road bog situation. “We continue to receive lots of calls about the bog hole above the Town of Gothic. Even though it is a Forest Service Road and they are responsible for the repair/rebuild of that section of road I am sending a backhoe and multiple truckloads of material to the site today to try to stabilize it and dry it out enough that it is passable. I’m not sure how long the repair will last, but felt it is important to provide service to our residents and visitors.”

Thank you so much, Marlene. I think everyone appreciates that sort of attitude to step up and help even when a problem doesn’t fall into “your” box of responsibility. Hopefully that effort will work.

—The Coal Creek Watershed Coalition is addressing the uncomfortable issue of human waste in the backcountry. See Sarah Coleman’s letter on page 6. The one toilet the group placed up the Slate River is filling to the brim every week and provides an indication of how much poop is being produced up there. It’s a lot. Don’t drink the water. Sarah has a way you can help keep it a little more pristine up there.

—I can say I took a few good bike rides this past week and made the extra effort to greet everyone on the trails. And there were plenty of people, many of them travelling in family packs. Pretty much everyone was very nice and friendly—with the exception of a new “local” couple that ignored my greeting to have a great day with stone faces. Oh well. What can you do? Have compassion, I guess.

—Up at RMBL, a pickup drove by several “No Trespassing” signs on private property last week and the occupants went for a hike. RMBL could have had the truck towed. They didn’t. According to the Mt. Crested Butte Police Department, “If someone is trespassing on private property, the property owner has the right to request that a summons be issued or not. [RMBL director] Ian Billick was the reporting party in this case. Ian was advised by the officer that, due to the parking on private property, it was his right to have the vehicle towed. He chose not to do this, but requested that charges be pressed once contact was made with the vehicle’s owner.” That happened and the driver was issued a summons for trespassing. Had Ian’s patience run out, it could have made that driver’s day a lot worse.

—It may be hard to fathom this weekend, when top-flight artists and premier mountain bike teams are in town, but the pedal will come off the metal pretty soon. It will slow down. Schools start up in Texas and Oklahoma and Denver in a few weeks. There will be an outflow of numbers from the backcountry and the valley. There will be opportunity to take a breath. Hang in there and enjoy what looks like a potential stretch of sunshine (with some regular afternoon monsoons). It all will be back to normal.

—Mark Reaman

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