Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

aspenrecreation.com

The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails department is seeking public input on a new habitat management policy.

Dale Will, open space and trails director, said there are two frequent complaints he hears from users of public land  — those who think the department is not doing enough to preserve the natural environment of its 17 properties, and those who grumble when recreational areas are shut down.

The proposed policy states that all management plans should be based on site-specific research. Will said having actual habitat studies to point to will help quell complaints that an area is mis-managed.

“Most generalizations about protecting wildlife are just wrong,” he said. “You have to know the specifics of what species are there, what are their tolerances for different sorts of things. Some people don't know that there are some species that do better if there are humans milling around.”

The policy formalizes a system that is already in place. The most recent management plan for Sky Mountain Park was based off of a one hundred thousand dollar wildlife study.

Jim Kravitz is the Naturalist Programs Director at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. He says there are some species that need their distance during certain times of the year, like ground-nesting birds in the spring, and elk migration corridors. Some sensitive flora and fauna need more preservation though.

“We may not see it on the fungus or on the beetle, but they are all contributing to the larger picture,” said Kravitz.

The county’s management plans take into consideration the natural wildlife, the agricultural use of public land, and the recreational use. Changes at the Northstar Preserve this year include additional staff and increased law enforcement presence to curb its reputation as a party spot.

But Will says his mission is not to entirely remove humans from interacting with open space. In fact, they are crucial to its longevity.

“Again and again people have studied why people protect the environment and it’s because they love the environment and they are out in it,” he said.

A link to the proposed management policy is available here. Public comment is being accepted through June 24th.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

The 500-acre prescribed burn that took place earlier this month on the slopes above Avalanche Creek Campground and Filoha Meadows was a success, according to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the U.S. Forest Service. However, the fire may not be out just yet.

The public still has a chance to weigh in on the future of Pitkin County’s newest open space property. The final open house on the Lazy Glen property was held last week, but Lindsey Utter, senior environmental planner for the county, encourages people to give input online for the county’s newest acquisition of public land.

“If they like what they are seeing or want to see things managed differently in the future those are the things we need to hear about now,” said Utter.

Your Morning News - February 2nd, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Pitkin County Library Plans to Move During Expansion Work

Later this month the Pitkin County Library will begin its multi-million dollar expansion project. In order to save time and money, the plan is to move about one-third of the collection to the old Aspen Art Museum.

Head librarian Kathy Chandler is hoping that a new tenant for the museum space will not be ready to move in by April. That’s when she wants to move library operations to the empty building on North Mill Street.

“Possibly we will move everything out and then and let the contractor have at the building...because they will be able to do the work a lot more efficiently if they don’t have to work around the staff and the public and the collection...but a lot of it has to do with timing.”

Chandler is waiting to hear from Aspen City Council on when it plans to select one of five local nonprofits to become a tenant in the old museum space. If the timing works, the library would take it over temporarily. The remaining collection would be moved to storage possibly at the parking garage in Snowmass Village.

“So if things just go absolutely perfectly we would move part of the collection down to the art museum...we would bring a lot of the children’s collection and then the most popular, newest parts of the adult collection down to that building and... we are hoping we can store a lot of the rest of our materials in kind of dead storage.”

The existing library would be open in a limited capacity during construction. The expansion will add 5,108 square feet to the building. Chandler expects the project to be complete by the end of summer in 2016.

Your Evening News - January 30th, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

AVSC Ski Coach Charged with Child Sexual Assault

One of the alpine ski coaches at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club has been arrested. Bill Montage is facing multiple counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and aggravated incest. He was arrested yesterday. AVSC says the charges are not related to any minors at the club or in the Aspen area

Your Morning News - December 23rd, 2014

Dec 23, 2014

Pitkin County is Taking Proposals on Glassier Open Space

Pitkin County is asking for proposals with what to grow on a parcel of open space. The Open Space and Trails Department is considering people interested in leasing land for agricultural use at the Glassier Open Space. That’s near Emma in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley. Open Space and Trails Employees will be doing a site visit in January to show the land to potential farmers.

Mountain Edition - December 4th, 2014

Dec 4, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Aspen City Council decides to take up lodging incentives again-- but much more cautiously.

Garfield County Commissioners suggest alternate routes for energy companies to reach leases on the contested Thompson Divide.

And the Glenwood Springs Police Department aims to crack down on people who don’t lock up their trash from bears.

The USA Pro Challenge announces Aspen will be included again in its route for 2015, only this time it won’t be the start.

Your Evening News - December 2nd, 2014

Dec 2, 2014

Glassier Open Space Comment Deadline Approaches

The deadline is looming to comment on a management plan for a new open space parcel in the mid-valley. The Glassier open space near Emma will be used for recreation and agriculture.

Unlike most Pitkin County-managed open space parcels, the Glassier land will give agricultural producers a chance to grow crops. About half of the 282-acre land is irrigated and at one time, was used for ranching.

Study Looks at Capacity and Use of Rio Grande Trail

Mar 19, 2014
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

An increasing number of groups want to use the Rio Grande Trail to host events like running and cycling races. So, Pitkin County commissioned a survey. The results show how many people use the trail during peak times and whether there’s a tolerance from the public for additional events. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Over a decade ago, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Director Dale Will says it was common to see local, non-profit races on the Rio Grande like the Buddy Program’s annual 5-mile race. But in recent years, interest in holding such races has shot up.