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KSJD Newscast - February 12th, 2016

  • Planning & Zoning Commission says Montezuma County should just say no to a proposed recreational trail from Cortez to Mancos.

Montezuma County should just say no to a proposed recreational trail from Cortez to Mancos. That was the sentiment of the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting Thursday. The “Paths to Mesa Verde” trail has been placed on the state’s top-priority list, but P&Z had little good to say about it. The four men voiced worries about having to work with the federal lands agencies. P&Z’s Raymond Boyd, who gives talks on the Constitution to the local chapter of the 9-12 Project, said all public land within the state’s borders belongs to Colorado and that asking permission from the Bureau of Land Management to cross its property would be an admission the BLM has jurisdiction. He said this might weaken the county’s position in efforts to take over other federal lands. Board members also raised concerns about the estimated $25 million cost of construction as well as ongoing maintenance, questioning whether the county would benefit economically in the long term. Bob Clayton said the trail would draw cyclists and other users who don’t spend much, and Chairman Kelly Belt joked that they eat mostly berries instead of restaurant meals. Mike Gaddy pushed for promoting motorcycle tours instead, saying the county is far more biker-friendly than Durango. Belt said if he were to vote on the trail, he would say no “in a heartbeat.”

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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