by Rick Langenberg:
Ute Pass area hikers, visitors and outdoor buffs must put their Dewey Mountain excursions on hold, unless they want to do these treks illegally.
Last week, the Green Mountain Falls Board of Trustees delayed any action on plans to open up legal access to the scenic Dewey Mountain area from residential sections of GMF until August. The delay is necessary to allow the Dewey Mountain property owner, the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation, to receive input from citizens and others regarding what the 140-acre area should be used for. Anyone interested in making official comments, should send letters to the following address: Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation, P.O. Box 1, Green Mountain Falls, Co 80819.
At issue is whether the area should be opened up for more recreational opportunities, with the addition of new trails or improvements of current routes, of if the area should just be left as open space.
According to brief comments at last week’s meeting by Jesse Stroope, a representative of the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation, the prime goal of the Dewey Mountain purchase dealt with a desire to preserve this area for the benefit of the local citizens. The Foundation’s purchase protected a good portion of the land from being converted into residential housing, according to previous reports.
In a previous hearing, many residents and Ute Pass trail advocates spoke favorably towards the benefits of opening up Dewey Mountain to hikers and outdoor buffs, through a single, legal access route. They lauded this area as a great boon to GMF and see this as enhancing its reputation as a trails-friendly community. Currently, many people trek up and down Dewey Mountain, known as a scenic side route to North Catamount Reservoir, but do so illegally.
The Green Mountain Falls Trails Committee has identified four potential access routes, located off Catamount, Myrtle and Ora streets, near the base of Dewey Mountain, located directly north of town. Only one route, though, would be developed. Some residents, located near Dewey Mountain, though, aren’t so keen about the idea. They have cited concerns over parking, litter, fire dangers, loose dogs and people getting hurt.
But according to Stroope, the Foundation hasn’t made a decision regarding the public use of the area and needs more time to evaluate the situation. “We have not made that commitment,” said Stroope, in regards to opening up the area to more recreational opportunities and developing additional trails. He said the Foundation wants to review such matters as the health of the forest, open space preservation and public input. Citizens are advised to send letters directly to the Foundation regarding their views on this issue, according to Stroope.
Stoope’s comments surprised some local trail advocates who appeared ready to cut the ribbon on a new Dewey access route. Dick Bratton, the trails committee chairman, sought to receive more direct input at an upcoming meeting from Chris Keesee, a key leader of the foundation and the driving force behind the Green Box Arts Festival and many community-oriented projects. But Stroope told the trustees that the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation is the actual property owner. In addition, he said Keesee is currently tied up in dealing with the Green Box Arts Festival. The trustee agreed to delay the Dewey Mountain access issue until its Aug. 19 meeting.