Last ride taken to see aspens on Boreas Pass Road | SummitDaily.com
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Last ride taken to see aspens on Boreas Pass Road

Gary Lindstrom

Even after 33 years of looking at the changing colors of the aspen trees in September, it is still a special experience that astounds me.

The best time to see golden trees is early in the morning or late in the day. That is when the sun is at the right angle to shine right through the leaves. The gold becomes more gold and the yellow is like fire.

Last Thursday, I drove back to Summit County from Denver along Highway 285 through my old hometown of Conifer, down through Bailey over Crow Hill, Kenosha Pass into South Park and Fairplay. The trip takes longer but the view was worth it.

I stopped for a while along the Platte River below Grant to watch the water from Dillon Reservoir diverted under the Continental Divide emerge from the Roberts Tunnel on its way to Denver.

It still looked good even in a far-away place.

I watched a man catch a trout with a stick and a piece of string. I wondered if he had a license and then thought that maybe, just maybe, he would take it home to his family for dinner. Never mind about the license.

On Saturday, some good friends from Minot, N.D., stopped by. They are both captains in the Air Force and had their brand new 5-week-old baby son with them. The baby’s dad is in training in Colorado Springs and his mom is still on maternity leave.

They both work in missile silos defending the Free World against something. I have seen several TV documentaries on the state of the Russian missiles and it is nice to know that we are at least taking care of ours.

I can’t imagine living in Minot with no aspen trees.

I thought it would be nice to go for a drive up Boreas Pass to look at the great trees up there. Great minds. The rest of the world and I thought it would be nice to go up Boreas Pass to look at the trees.

It was a virtual traffic jam on the road.

I thought we could zip up to Baker’s Tank, turn around, and come back in a few minutes. Nice thought but a wrong thought.

People were passing on the narrow road at a high rate of speed, honking and making one-finger gestures as they went by. I guess they were in a hurry or maybe they did not like the North Dakota plates on the truck. It was not a nice welcome to Colorado for my friends.

When we arrived at the tank, there was no room to turn around because of all the cars.

I guess I had become part of the problem.

After my friends left, I wondered about what they must have thought about Colorado and Summit County. I wondered what their small baby would know of the turning of the aspens in the future and whether he would be able to jump in a truck and drive to Baker’s Tank 20 years from now. I thought about what we are doing to leave something for him to enjoy.

My good friend Steve who lives near the trailhead on Boreas Pass calls me once in a while to talk about how we are killing the environment up there. He tells me about the cars tearing up the road in the summer and the snowmobiles in conflict with the cross country skiers in the winter.

One long-standing conflict involves the promotion of Boreas Pass as a recreation opportunity and the feelings of those who would like to see less use in the area.

People on the Park County side feel that the pass is an economic asset because of business interests in Como. The road itself and the Section House at the top are advertised to increase the amount of vehicle traffic, while on the Summit County side people are concerned that the area should be downplayed to reduce the amount of use.

Hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing are considered soft impacts while snowmobiles and cars are higher impact activities.

As each year passes, the conflict gets worse and the communities positions become more polarized.

Maybe it is a form of pain management. When the pain gets bad enough we will manage to make the changes we need to make.

All I know is that I think that I have driven on Boreas Pass Road for the last time.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom writes a Thursday column for the Summit Daily News.


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