Re: Ascendigo Ranch
While Ascendigo Ranch’s proposal for a year-round camp is laudable, there could not be a more poorly-chosen location. There are many compelling reasons to deny this proposal (water resources, traffic, limited roads, noise, pollution, zoning regulations) and I will focus on a crucial one: wildfire threat.
During my time in Missouri Heights, I have been evacuated twice (almost three times; I was ready) due to encroaching wildfires. As the Panorama Fire approached our neighborhood, the sheriff came to the house and yelled through his bullhorn, “You need to leave NOW. I’m not talking about 15 minutes, but NOW.” It was terrifying.
“Those with autism are likely to hide in fire situations: in closets, under beds, behind furniture.” Adapted from autismspeaks.org
“Individuals with autism have a particular problem with fire drills: the noise, lights and crowded halls.” Adapted from autismclassroomresources.com
Safely rescuing many children within minutes of an approaching fire (with very few access roads) could be futile and tragic.
“The consequences of intense dry periods are severe, including more intense and dangerous wildfires,” from Post Independent.
“Governor Polis warns that wildfire season is a year-round phenomenon,” Post Independent.
Re: ATV frenzy
As a full-time resident of Marble, I want to share a few thoughts about the push to ban ATVs. Many of us live here for the peace and tranquility, the beauty and access to wilderness, the solitude, so it’s not terribly surprising that Marble residents have grown increasingly frustrated by the visitor increase and resulting disruption to so many of the things we love about this place. I’m also frustrated, but I do not believe a ban on ATVs will solve our problems. I support the multi-pronged approach that has been outlined to inform and educate visitors and increase enforcement as a first step.
Marble is a really special place. However, the “visitor boom” Marble has been experiencing in recent years is not unique to Marble. Nationwide, more people are visiting public lands than ever and, of course, COVID only added to that increase. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported a 30% increase in visitation in 2020. Given this well-known increase in public land use and mountain town tourism, I was surprised by the idea that we could solve the town’s problems and that we could save the Lead King Loop (LKL) by banning ATVs.
As an avid runner, I spend a lot of time as a pedestrian on the LKL and our roads in town, and I will share that banning ATVs will not solve the problems and nuisances I’ve experienced – far from it. Here are the main problems and nuisances I experience every summer in my jaunts around town and the LKL:
· Speeding, creating dust and scary conditions for pedestrians
· Drinking and driving, causing unsafe conditions for all
· Illegal parking, blocking traffic and causing a nuisance
· Constant traffic, causing frustration for all — especially as a pedestrian on the narrow LKL
· Clear traces being left, including litter, human waste and dog poop
My experience isn’t unique. These complaints are commonplace in Marble conversation. Yes, many ATV users certainly speed, drink and drive, park illegally, add to the traffic, leave a trace, etc., but they are not alone: people driving jeeps, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and cars do all of these things too. If ATVs are banned, I believe we will be having the same conversation about all of these issues next year because the real issue is a huge increase in visitation to a place that currently lacks the infrastructure to handle it. ATV users are one of the many user groups that would benefit from increased education and enforcement.
In the past few months, we’ve heard a handful of people make repeated calls for the outright banning of ATVs in Marble and on CR3. Maybe permit systems, increased development, or outright bans will be needed in the future to manage the visitor boom — as has been implemented in other high-use areas — but I don’t support jumping straight to any of those solutions. I fully support the education and information campaigns planned for this summer, along with the other plans in place to manage parking and increase enforcement.
The Roaring Fork Schools are recognizing May as Staff Appreciation Month. As we celebrate end-of-year achievements for our students and schools, we want to recognize the heroic teachers and staff members who make those successes possible. While we have worked hard over many years to build a world-class school district, nothing makes a bigger difference than the people who work with your children in the classroom, on the playing fields, in the cafeteria and on the school bus.
This year, more than at any other time in recent history, the people who work in our schools have stepped up, taken personal risks, learned new skills, managed health and safety concerns, and made strides in student learning. Every time I read a newspaper headline about “lost learning” in other parts of the country, I feel gratitude for the teachers and staff members who helped our students learn many new skills, knowledge, resilience, perseverance and empathy.
Let’s also remember that our teachers and staff members struggle to afford to live and work in our community. While our school district has the third highest cost of living in Colorado, our per-pupil funding ranks 60th. Due to tight fiscal management, we are able to pay our teachers the 37th highest wages in the state, but that’s not enough. So, in addition to sharing gratitude for the people who work with your children, please consider that the time has come for us as a community to step up in the voting booth to contribute to a local solution to the pending wage crisis in our schools.
Now more than ever, we appreciate every staff member for making a difference for our students and communities. Personally, and on behalf of the board of education and leadership team of the school district, I want to thank all staff members for making the Roaring Fork Schools a great place to learn.
Superintendent Rob Stein
Roaring Fork School District
In the night dark trees
An Intelligence of owls
Tutor their young ones.