What follows is an elegant letter from Jack Trautman urging the Routt County Board of Commissioners to keep RCR 18C open to the public. If you agree that RCR 18C should remain a public entity, please contact the commissioners and add your voice. Tim Corrigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Members of the Routt County Board of Commissioners, Planning Department, and Road and Bridge Department:
As an avid but aging cyclist, and also as President of Routt County Riders, our local cycling advocacy organization, I want to express my strong input and heartfelt request to keep Routt County Road 18C open to the public.
I was recently made aware of the 18C vacation proposal, which started out as vacating 18C east of the Yampa River, and has since grown to include all of 18C beginning at its intersection of CR 18, and including the bridge over the Yampa. While I can understand the County’s desire to vacate seemingly private roads as a cost reduction, especially when a bridge is involved, 18C is by no means used just by the private homeowners in the Lake Catamount subdivision and the Green Creek Ranch (aka Gay Ranch).
County Road 18C is a very popular destination for local road cyclists and visitors to Routt County alike. It is one of 6 classic Routt County out-and-back road biking rides starting in Steamboat (other out-and-back rides: Twenty Mile Mine, Hilton Gulch Schoolhouse, Oak Creek for fish tacos at Lupitas, Clark Store, and Rabbit Ears Pass). For many of us cyclists who are past our prime, a ride from Steamboat out River Road to Hudspeth Lane, a short ride on CO131 to Pleasant Valley Road (CR18,), ending at the bridge on CR18C is the perfect 30 mile round-trip ride. On any given day there are multiple road riders taking a break at the CR18C bridge over the Yampa, eating an energy bar, taking a drink, engaging in conversation with fellow cyclists and admiring the pristine beauty of this vantage point: the bald eagles perched in the downstream cottonwoods, the trout feeding below the bridge, the sounds of the rushing Yampa, the panoramic views of Pleasant valley, and the marmots sunning on the hay bales.
I took my first ride this year out to the 18C bridge two weeks ago and expect my last ride to be sometime in early November. I am representative of many who ride out to the bridge. I would submit that there are more Routt County residents (on bicycles) who use RC18C than there are residents who access their homes via 18C. Just ask the Catamount residents—they see us out there all the time, and there are always friendly waves back and forth. We respect their privacy and their land and they know it.
Given this significant use by road cyclists, I was struck by the question and response recorded in the September 1, 2016 minutes of the Routt County Planning Commission:
“Mr. Koehler asked about public use of the road (CR18C). Mr. Goldich said that there was none that staff is aware of.” (CR18C) added by me for clarification.
I am here to set the record straight that CR18C gets significant use by Routt County residents who are not residents of Catamount or Green Creek Ranch. CR18C is not just a private driveway for Catamount and Green Creek Ranch residents.
Let me close by stating two things:
1. I am grateful for all the support that Routt County Commissioners, Planners, and Road and Bridge give to cyclists in our County. Whether it’s the Tour de Steamboat, Moots Ranch Rally, Hayden Cog Ride, Ride the Rockies, Steamboat Stage Race, Bike Tour Colorado, The Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride, US Pro Challenge and other County cycling events, we have all benefitted from support by County officials (you!) to provide us safe rides on Routt County roads. The existence of the Multi-modal Group with cycling representation is proof that you care about cyclists in Routt County. Thank you for all you have done for Routt County cyclists.
2. I want to strongly urge you to keep CR18C open to cyclists up to and including the bridge over the Yampa. This is a big deal for so many of the cycling enthusiasts in our County, and in my role in Routt County Riders, I am the voice for all of them.
Thanks very much for your service to our County and thanks for considering our request.
Please contact me at your convenience to discuss or follow up.
President, Routt County Riders, an IMBA Chapter