Monday, February 10, 2014

Time to Discuss Opening Rollins Pass?

Location: Rollins Pass, Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado 80466, USA
Rollins Pass - Elevation 11,660 feet above sea level
On Thursday, February 13, 2014, at 5:00pm, the Boulder County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing to take public testimony on opening the Rollins Pass Road.  It will be held in the Hearing Room on the Third Floor of the Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302.

Rollins Pass is an area rich with railroad history. It's not Mount Olympus, but the pass itself is a very important part of the alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems. I have provided some links at the bottom of this blog post with some more information.

I brought up this topic at the February 4th Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, and the board unanimously agreed to write a support letter for moving the conversation forward.

The following is an open letter to the County Commissioners for the hearing:

February 7, 2014 
Boulder County Commissioners
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306 
Dear Commissioners,
Last year, I met with Mayor Jim Myers from the Town of Winter Park and we discussed the opportunity of opening Rollins Pass. 
Since then, I have informally spoken with mayors and commissioners from Grand, Gilpin, Clear Creek, and Boulder Counties, and I have come to realize that there is enough common ground to take the idea to the next level for opening the historic Rollins Pass Road and Needles Eye Tunnel for two-wheel drive vehicles, providing access to the James Peak Wilderness and Protection Area. 
On February 4, 2014, the Nederland Board of Trustees reviewed the Grand / Gilpin Counties' Position Paper. Our Board of Trustees agrees with their approach in addressing the three main concerns: Liability, Funding, and Protecting the Fragile Ecosystem. 
I had discussed this idea with our former state representatives, Claire Levy and State Senator Jeanie Nicholson. I will be hosting a Town Hall with our new representatives, State Senator Rollie Heath, and State Representative, KC Becker on February 12, 2014, and allow residents from the Greater Nederland Area to provide input. 
The Town of Nederland appreciates your consideration regarding this request. Please contact me with any further questions. 
Joe Gierlach
Mayor, Town of Nederland

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Here is a link to the Grand / Gilpin Counties' Paper on Rollins Pass Road, and James Peak Wilderness and Protection Area referred to in the letter. It includes the Grand and Gilpin County proposal.

Here is a link to the The Rollins Pass Restoration Association's website. If you follow the link, there is a lot of information about Rollins Pass including the Needles Eye Tunnel Feasibility Study.

Rollins Pass is an ecological diamond in the rough.
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