It’s no secret that certain groups have been questioning multi-use access to the Slate River for many years. Several years ago, an meeting with very little forewarning or fanfare was called to discuss the winter trailhead. While a certain person was trying to get this trailhead shut down to motorized travel, others were sticking up for open access. Present at the meeting were many, including Keith Bauer (current Nordic Center Director), Frank Konsella (current board member of Share the Slate), Marlene Crowley (Public Works Director), some county plow drivers, and several other backcountry users. Most people present did not want to see motorized access to the Slate River Drainage get shut down and were willing to make compromises to reduce user conflicts, property owner complaints, and trailhead crowding. However, as more and more people find themselves using the Slate River Drainage, some of these rules have been forgotten – or some never knew them in the first place. Below is a list of “rules” that were agreed upon during this meeting, and/or have been established as the norm. No parking in the turn around – At the end of the road and the start of the trailhead, there is a
We at Share the Slate believe that multiple user groups can coexist at winter trailheads. But, part of coexisting is making sure that we follow a certain etiquette. The pieces of etiquette are simple – Be Kind, Help Others, Be Aware, and Show Respect. We ask that winter backcountry users not only respect their peers and other user groups. But, it’s also imperative to respect closures and private property. The Allen Ranch recently posted a letter in the paper to the Crested Butte Community asking winter backcountry users to respect their private property boundaries: The map below illustrates the situation. The green area on the map is operated by the National Forest Service. The red line marked on the map highlights the areas of Washington Gulch Road that pass through private property. That means, you should not go off of the road for 1.3 miles past the trailhead (which is located just NW of the subdivision) at which time you will then pass on to Forest Service land. To see the map more clearly, click to enlarge. In order for winter access to remain open to all user groups, we must ensure that we are respecting private property. Thanks to
Every year, the Crested Butte Avalanche Center always hosts an Avalanche Awareness night. This is usually chock-full of various presentations that are related to snow safety. Being that it’s the beginning of the season, and the snowpack is touchy as it usually it, this is a great event for every backcountry user to attend. Whether you’re a beginner in the backcountry. or an expert, the CBAC Avalanche Awareness night has something for you. The event will be held at Mountaineer Square, at the base of the ski area, on Friday Dec. 4th. Doors open at 5:00, but the event starts at 6 pm. Tickets are $5 at the door and any proceeds go to CBAC. Have you done your beacon practice yet? While you’re at it, join the CBAC for the Beacon Brush-up 2.0 on Sat. Dec. 5th at the Crested Butte Community School Multi-purpose Room. Events start at 9 am and last until about 3 pm, where the venue then shifts to the Alpineer for a few more hours. Events include brand-specific beacon demo and training from Ortovox, BCA, Mammut, and Pieps, beacon practice, two rescue scenarios, digging competition, rescue sled competition, and more.