Guthrie: A eulogy for Summit County’s Peaks Trail and Gold Hill Trail
January 30, 2014
A tale of two trails
Two of the premier trails in Summit County for hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing are, or were, the Peaks Trail and the Gold Hill Trail. Ask any biker or skier about favorite trails, and they will probably name the Peaks Trail as one of them. Gold Hill was also a marvelous trail, a key section of the Colorado Trail and a great place to ski on a windy day. In its former deep woods, you wouldn't even know that there was a breeze. Now it's the last place you'd want to go on a windy day. As part of the "Ophir Mountain Forest Health and Fuels project," contractors went in last winter and clearcut all the trees along the lower part of the trail. Both of the groups I ski with canceled their scheduled trips when they realized the windblown wasteland of denuded forest they would be going through.
As your January 16 headline article pointed out, logging contractors are again poised to enter this area. The Ophir Project calls for clearcutting huge areas along the Peaks Trail far from any development, so of no direct value for fire mitigation. This would be totally contrary to the interests of a county that depends on natural beauty and recreational resources such as the Peaks Trail for its quality of life and its economy. Although the decision to clearcut was made a few years ago, plans can be changed. To those with the authority to do so, please reconsider.
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