Trail access key issue in SV
Guest opinion by NILS A. RIBI
Vice Chairman, Sun Valley Planning &
Max Walker of Elkhorn and others rightly
raise concerns about appropriate access to public lands from within the City of
Sun Valley. I, too, have done so as a Planning and Zoning commissioner over the
past four years.
In 2000, when it became apparent that the
trail access from Fairway Road to Procter Mountain and Corral Creek was going to
be lost, I encouraged my fellow commissioners on the Sun Valley Planning &
Zoning Commission to attach a "condition of approval" to a nearby subdivision
application to preserve that access, as was recommended by the City’s 1994
Comprehensive Plan. The condition would create a trailhead with appropriate
parking and signage at the end of Fairway Road to allow hiking access to the
Proctor Loop, along with hiking and mountain biking access to the Corral Creek
trail. The Sun Valley P&Z Commission approved that trail access plan unanimously
on Nov. 14, 2000.
Unfortunately, the previous administration
lacked the political will to follow through with all the conditions in the P&Z
approval, in spite of my many reminders over the past three and a half years.
The new leadership in Sun Valley is interested in seeing that public access to
trails and open space is a priority, so recently we attached the same conditions
to the construction of the new Dollar Cabin Lodge in an effort to finally get
the trail project finished. Rest assured that your access to Procter Mountain
was never lost, just ignored by some.
A couple of years ago I also sought access
from the new owners of the property at the end of Back Pay Way to allow hikers
and mountain bikers to continue to use the extension trail off that end of
Procter Mountain. We were assured in public testimony that the access would
continue, although gates and signage today seem to indicate the contrary may be
the case. This is another access issue we intend to follow up on.
As the City of Sun Valley reworks its
Comprehensive Plan this summer and fall it is important for everyone to speak up
with their thoughts on public access issues, as well as the many other issues
facing the future of the city. The next meeting to discuss the Comprehensive
Plan will be June 29 at Sun Valley City Hall starting around 5 p.m. Check the
paper for details.
I would encourage all trail users who pass
behind the Trail Creek Cabin grounds to be respectful of activities going on
there and to be respectful of our neighbors on Fairway Road. Hopefully we can
work to create an even better solution to the Trail Creek Cabin area while still
allowing appropriate citizen access from within the city.