Friday, March 19, 2010

Preserve access to the river

What a tragedy. One of the most important stretches of the Big Wood River, one that has been open for decades and cherished by hundreds of people every week, may be closed, locked up and people charged with trespassing.

In my years of working with landowners and developers, I don't remember such a sad outcome when there is a win-win solution.

What I learned from my years of work with developers and residents in Blaine County is that there is always a win-win solution.

It is unfortunate that the property owners felt the need to offer an ultimatum. That never helps when working in this small community where people take pride in being friendly and who love their river, wildlife, fishing, open space and recreation.

Regardless of the current circumstances, I am absolutely certain there is a solution. I ask residents to set aside your anger and fear and think about the big picture. Learn the facts. All of the recent planning efforts conclude that development belongs adjacent to cities and the infrastructure they can provide.

Of course, we would like to see this beautiful property remain as it is with wheel lines and cows. It is private property, however, and the time when owners want to develop these properties is the perfect time to work out solutions to private and public needs and desires.

This is one of the most important recreational assets in Blaine County. Access to the Big Wood River is critical to our love and enjoyment of this special place. It is my hope residents, the developer and city officials will seek a positive solution to this important project.

Mary Austin Crofts


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