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Letters – Aug. 24, 2023

Locations: Letters, Opinion Published

Our Town One Table
We would like to thank everyone for attending the Eighth Annual Our Town One Table. This year, we had 110 table reservations with a theme of “Forage, Feast and Friends.” Sammy Rodrigo’s table won “Best Table,” with amazing food decorations based on the theme.

A special thanks to our volunteers: Dylan Starrs and his crew from Jaywalker Lodge, and Christine Helling for helping set up and break down. Thank you to our live entertainment from Bonedale Flash Mob, MinTze Wu and Cowboy Corral.

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This event continues to grow, and this year we received local sponsorships from: Bonfire Coffee, Alpine Bank, Domingo Sausage Co., ArtSpace, jvD Bldg Seed Joint Venture and Rafaelo Infante with Guayaki Yerba Mate. We appreciate the generosity from our local businesses who wanted to help fund our community event.

Finally, save the date for 2024: Sunday, Aug. 18!

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Carbondale Parks & Rec.


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Dangerous by Design?
Thank you to the 438 people who completed our Highway 133 survey; the 100+ people who stopped at our booths to map close calls between cars, pedestrians, and cyclists; and those who spent extra time sharing detailed descriptions of experiences on Highway 133. Finally, thanks to the 100 people who gave us email addresses, so we can update them on our work to make your voices heard.

We are Age-Friendly Carbondale (formerly CACFI & Senior Matters). We develop and advocate for Age-Friendly policies, programs, and projects. We are all volunteers, not a board or commission. We do not ask for, nor accept, money from the Town’s government. We know you are all busy — some to exhaustion — working, raising a family, being caretakers and caregivers and trying to find time to enjoy what this Valley offers. We know some of you feel our elected officials do not hear or respect your voices. We are here to bring your voices to them.

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We will analyze the survey data you gave us, create a report and take your responses to those in power who can make changes. We will do what we can to ensure that this information does more than have a shelf next to previous reports. We will tell you what is next and inform you about government meetings where your presence would be helpful.

We have stopped collecting paper surveys. If you want to add your voice, you can access digital surveys (until Aug. 31) by going to our website,, and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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Age-Friendly Carbondale


Emergency alerts
Since the fires on Maui, I have been wondering how Carbondale residents would be notified if there was a life-threatening emergency, especially at night. Like many of us, I turn my phone off at night to avoid being awakened by junk texts, calls and messages. How, then, would we be advised of a serious emergency? Does Carbondale even have an emergency alert system?

I ask that the Town and the Fire Department use a downtown siren to alert residents of such emergencies. Lots of towns have these. Don’t we already have a siren in the center of town? Can’t we use it to warn us when our phones might not be enough, especially for a middle-of-the-night emergency?

Linda Criswell


Nothing to see here
Maybe we are going about this all wrong. I just spent part of a week back in my previous small town, Golden, Colorado, and my oh my! Be very careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.

Back in the ‘70s, Golden was pretty much a ghost town. Into the ‘80s, it pretty much stayed that way. Then some good meaning folk, myself included, decided to stop going to Boulder for everything cool we wanted, and started bringing the parts we liked to Golden. Man, were we successful.

Bike trails, multi-use trails (10 feet wide? We don’t need that! Six is plenty! Ha! Need 14 now, sigh), white-water kayak park, indoor pool and recreation center, outdoor pool with lap lanes and a separate kid-friendly play pool, a public golf course and, of course, pretty murals to dress up boring blank walls. And, to try to protect our small town ambiance, we even passed a 1% growth limit. Polis has outlawed these; Golden appears to be balking at revoking it.

If you’ve been to Golden lately, you’ll see the “success” we created is overrun! The locals leave town on the weekends, and it takes 20 minutes to drive a mile across town to get to King Soopers (Safeway is in midtown, but no one really likes it, and Natural Grocers is on a roundabout and very difficult to get into). Colorado School of Mines hasn’t found a limit to its growth up and out, and downtown is jammed with cute shops and restaurants the locals are tired of. It’s a great environment for business success and sales tax revenue. And, the locals hate it.

There’s another urban model, more common in developing countries (and some developed ones too): put on a boring exterior, have a secure gate; if you are lucky enough to get inside, there’s an oasis with colors, beautiful plants, nice windows and paint. The boring exterior says “nothing of interest here” and deters thieves and visitors both.

Maybe Carbondale needs to reconsider beautifying the entrances to town. Maybe we need to reconsider fixing the ugly fences and boring storage unit walls. Maybe we don’t want a superduper attention grabbing swimming pool. We want it “nice“ for us, but consider the cost. We want to keep town funky and barely functioning, although safe to walk, bike and pull out on Highway 133. We really don’t want to advertise what a great place we are – just like we don’t tell people where our secret powder stash, fishing hole or flower hike is. Maybe we need to say, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

Susan Rhea, Carbondale


Ouray County road report
What follows is the story behind and beyond the actual road conditions reported here. The story actually tells about the search for intelligent life beyond the Roaring Fork watershed. And, it serves as a first diary entry for my self-imposed exile from the motorized madness which is Marble.

Outside of highways and main downtown streets, most of the roads in Ouray County remain dirt. Of course, the famous Jeep routes like Imogene and Engineer Passes are rough and rugged. But, most of the many numbered county roads are smooth and well maintained for three seasons.

During the winter, most county roads here are muddy and rutted. But, before they dry out in the spring, they are bladed smooth, sprayed with water and magnesium chloride and rolled. This results in a smooth, hard, dust and gravel-free surface almost as durable as pavement. The roads stay smooth because there are not a lot of aggressive drivers tearing it up.

The county roads are so smooth that the bicycle of choice is a gravel bike rather than a mountain bike. Tires need to be only slightly thicker than the skinniest road bike tires. Lowrider passenger cars can also easily access the trailheads on Owl Creek Pass or Blue Lakes.

As a new electric vehicle owner, I expected to reduce my travel expenses by about 75%. In fact, many of the charging stations here are free. So, jumping into my emission free, silent Chevy Bolt after a free charge at the park, I proceeded up graded county roads to get up into the Aspen forest. The Bolt has minimal ground clearance. So, I do proceed slowly and carefully to avoid the infrequent but sometimes deep potholes. I am calling this method of accessing the high country “The Light Touch.”

Contrast this with “The Heavy Hand” found in Marble. High-impact vehicles tear up the road bed making access difficult for anyone with a less impactful method of travel. There is no room for a “Light Touch.”

In Ouray, ATVs and unlicensed motorcycles are not allowed within town limits. Ouray offers many more miles of trails, for many more ATV drivers, nearby and there are multiple ATV outfitters in town. All ATV rentals are delivered by trailer to trailheads. Ouray has a great hiking trail system, accessed from multiple points right in town with absolutely minimal ATV contact. In spite of being steep and rugged, the hiking trails are crowded.

Over Red Mountain Pass, Silverton has also banned ATV use within town limits. Two ATV trails, which could be connected by riding ATVs through town, remain unconnected. Obviously, the rights of residents to peace and quiet were defended over the recreation interests.

These solutions are not possible in Marble. There is no ATV parking place or trail access that does not impact the whole town. Delivering ATVs to trailheads by trailer is not feasible. All of this impact for a tiny fraction of the ATV trails offered in Ouray and Silverton, where impact can be managed.

The other problem without solution in Marble is that while there are  other places to hike without machines, there is only one route to the Maroon-Snowmass high country. Hikers wishing to access Capitol, Snowmass or the Maroon Bells from Marble must contend with the ATV impact. Remember that Outward Bound chose this access for their first base camp in the entire U.S. Now Outward Bound has given up here and moved on.

Conclusion: maintained roads can provide forest access for more visitors with reduced impact.

Alex Menard, Marble

Tags: #letters to editor #The Sopris Sun
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