Briefs County

Irwin withdraws expansion proposal
Irwin Backcountry Guides (IBG) has withdrawn its expansion proposal to the Gunnison County Planning Commission with the intent of developing a “phased master plan.”
IBG withdrew the proposal, which included plans for zip lines, challenge courses, mountain bike trails and a boathouse, on Tuesday, February 21. According to IBG attorney David Leinsdorf, the company has not yet determined if it will be a five-year or 10-year master plan, but it will be processed as a major impact.
“We’re responding to concerns that were raised by the Planning Commission and neighbors at the February 3 Planning Commission work session,” Leinsdorf said.
A formal timeline has not been developed, but IBG hopes to submit its master plan to the county sometime this year.

TBD Colorado

The County Commissioners are spreading the word: “TBD Colorado” will host 120 meetings across the state to spark civic engagement on some of the biggest issues facing the state. Three of those meetings, each three hours long, will be held in Gunnison. They will represent a region that includes Montrose, Telluride and Ouray.
Local residents are invited to self-nominate or nominate someone they know to take part in the group discussions, which will address education, transportation, health, the state budget and the state workforce/talent. Priority will be given to non-elected officials first.
“I’m just trying to encourage people because we need the best and the brightest brains at the table during the discussion,” commissioner Hap Channell said. “They’re trying to make it less provincial and as statewide as possible, so people are not bringing small, micro agendas to the table.”
According to the TDB Colorado web site,, TBD is a non-partisan, collaborative effort started by Governor Hickenlooper, but it is not funded by taxpayers’ dollars. And yes, TBD stands for “To Be Determined.”
“We tried to come up with a catchy name, but TBD truly captures the intended outcome of this effort—it’s to be determined,” the web site reads.
Coloradans can nominate themselves or someone else through the web site. Participants must be able to participate in all three meetings (March 7, April 4 and May 9) and read materials ahead of time. The public is invited to attend and observe the dialogue, though conversation will be restricted to the nominated group.

Cattle guards getting extra attention for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Assistant county manager and director of public works Marlene Crosby attended the USA Pro Cycling Challenge symposium in Colorado Springs this month. She joined Gunnison’s Local Organizing Committee there, and was able to chat with organizers about on-the-ground planning in Gunnison County.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has not announced the final course, but the county does know that racers will travel from Gunnison to Aspen. Crosby informed organizers that if the race goes over Cottonwood Pass, light construction is expected on the Taylor River Road this summer.
Crosby will know more about the extent of the construction in the next week, but work will take place on a seven-mile stretch of road to the east of Harmel’s Ranch Resort.
“There are still questions about the impact of Taylor construction if the course goes over Cottonwood, but the organizers know it’s coming,” Crosby said.
Crosby also said she discussed safety plans for cattle guards with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Last summer, Italian rider Daniele Callegarin crashed when his wheel hit the two-inch gap in the cattle guard. He broke both of his hands, and the injuries to his face required plastic surgery.
Crosby said the USA Pro Cycling Challenge has a plan to cover the gap in the cattle guards, but she feels more comfortable with an alternate plan.
“They have a synthetic they could tie in with plumber straps, but we looked at it and think the best solution is to weld a piece of strap steel over the gap,” Crosby said. It would not interfere with maintenance, and it would not interfere with cattle.
Crosby told the commissioners that the final course will likely be announced sometime in March but overall, organizers were impressed with the conditions in Gunnison County.
“They were very impressed and very comfortable with the safety and the condition last year,” Crosby said.

Another new bike race
A new road bike tour will make its debut this Labor Day, sponsored by the Western State Cycling Team to raise money for scholarships. Organizers hope to see 200 racers ride out of Gunnison on Highway 50, past the Black Canyon to Paonia and then over Kebler Pass. The timed portion of the ride will end at the top of Kebler but riders will continue into Crested Butte.
No roads will be closed for the race, but the commissioners did ask that organizers put up signs in advance of the race to warn drivers—particularly those looking at the fall colors—they might encounter bikers on the road. Crosby asked that riders be reminded to ride single file, and Commissioner Phil Chamberland requested they be aware of the impacts on ranchers.
“There are grazing permits up there and what not, so let the ranching community know about this so they can take it under advisement,” Chamberland added.

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