County Seeks Input on Roaring Fork Gorge


For those who paddle Slaughterhouse Falls; fish the Roaring Fork River in the scenic gorge below Aspen; bike, walk or ski the upper Rio Grande Trail or look forward to the opening of Gold Butte to climbing, June is the time to speak up.


Pitkin County Open Space and Trails will host a series of open houses, starting Thursday, June 6, to seek input from anyone who commutes on the Rio Grande Trail or enjoys recreational pursuits in the Roaring Fork/Rio Grande corridor between Stein Park and Wilton Jaffee Sr. Park – about 4 miles of public land known as the Roaring Fork Gorge.


The county wants to know how locals and visitors use the area, how they access the gorge, where they park, how they’d like to use the properties in the future and how their use would change if the area was managed differently.


“There’s a lot going on in the Roaring Fork Gorge,” said Gary Tennenbaum, stewardship and trails manager with Open Space and Trails. The stretch sees a multitude of recreational uses and encompasses six different open space parcels, plus the two public parks, Stein and Jaffee, each of which have their own management plans.


The June meetings, each targeted toward specific user groups, will feature maps on which attendees can sketch their thoughts, as well as an opportunity to submit written comments. In addition, an online survey will be posted at for those who wish to offer feedback. Surveys will also be available at the third-floor counter in the county’s Plaza One building.


The planning effort follows a year of study and public input regarding the surface of the Rio Grande Trail in the gorge.


“It became clear that before we could make a decision about the trail, we needed a lot more information about the properties that surround it,” Tennenbaum said. “It’s not just about whether bikers and walkers would prefer gravel versus pavement. We want to hear from everyone who uses the gorge.


“We want to know how people would react to changes – not just to the surface of the trail, but to a new connection across the gorge, refined fishing access and that sort of thing,” he said. “If there are parking issues, tell us.”


The goal is a management plan for the gorge as a whole. An initial draft should be ready for review by late summer, according to Tennenbaum.


The schedule of open houses includes one for adjacent residents (in the Aspen Business Center, Burlingame, North 40 and surrounding neighborhoods) on June 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Colorado Mountain College art gallery room in Aspen.


The meetings for various user groups will take place in the Rio Grande meeting room off Galena Plaza in Aspen, also from 4 to 6 p.m.


The schedule is:

June 6 – Walkers, runners and nordic skiers

June 12 – Commuters

June 13 – Road bikers

June 20 – Mountain bikers and cross-bikers

June 24 – Equestrians

June 25 – Anglers

June 27 - Boaters

For more information, contact Gary Tennenbaum at 920-5355.

Posted on Monday, June 03, 2013