Wednesday, September 14

Smurf Abuse: Last Ride

I'm calling it. This morning was my last summer prairie biking adventure. I managed a couple of laps around the top of South Table Mountain ahead of the cold front that's moving in. Ominous low clouds hung over the foothills as I flew through the prairie grass and pounded over rocks.

For now the trails are dry. This afternoon they will be a muddy mess, and probably will stay grungy through the weekend. Even if I get back on dirt next Wednesday or even next Friday we're getting deeper into September. The weather propagandists are saying snow above 9,000' and we thought we heard "winter weather advisory beginning at 3pm on Thursday for the metro area" but neither of us were sure.

I'm holding off until I get to ride the new bike a bit more before giving my official impressions, but needless to say I enjoyed using it to ascend, encircle and descend the mesa top this morning. And sitting behind me in my cube as I write this is a dirty smurf-looking thing with it's white saddle and smurfy blue paint.



Tomorrow promises to be a cold and rainy commute. I'll be on the Cannonball for sure.

In related news, the county Planning Commission is voting tonight on whether or not to change the Central Plains Community Plan which now designates South Table Mountain for "Open Space Only." Currently there is 400 acres of privately owned property on the summit of the mesa and the owner wants the designation changed so they can develop residential and commercial properties in the midst of county owned open space.

If you get the chance today (9/14) before the close of business and you oppose the change you should write the case manager:

Heather Gutherless
(303) 271-8716
fax: 303-271-8744
email: hgutherl@jeffco.us

I wrote the following letter and submitted it:

Heather,

I am writing as a citizen of the county and as a frequent open space user. I represent a local bicycle advocacy group in Arvada. I live in Arvada and work in Golden and frequently traverse South Table Mountain on bike or foot. I am opposed the change in designation from "open space only" on South Table Mountain.

Some places in the world are unique and have a value beyond the human development potential and both mesas (North and South Table Mountains) fall into that category. Those places have no need of further human development and provide no additional benefit by being developed, and in fact can lose the inherent benefits they possess due to adverse impacts imposed by development.

I was up on South Table Mountain this very morning and I am continually amazed at the perception of being isolated from everything. The mesa tops are like islands in the midst of a sea of human development, islands in the sky and beyond the noise, the rush and the built environment which we all inhabit. They provide a refuge that is both easily accessible and effectively separate.

For the residents of the western metro area, and visitors from beyond, South Table provides a brief respite from the stresses of daily life, wildlife habitat and an area that should be preserved in its uniqueness for generations to come.

And on a related but separate note as a transplant to the area I am continually amazed at the quality of Jefferson County Open Space parks compared to those (even on a state level) in other parts of the country and compared even to other similar metro area agencies. The County Open Space parks are a shining example of why Jefferson County is a wonderful place to live, raise children and enjoy being a part of the community. Jefferson County should be applauded for the vision and resources dedicated to Open Space to preserve and maintain the collection of fine parks we all can enjoy.

Please keep the "Open Space Only" designation for South Table Mountain in the Central Plains Community Plan.

Thank you,

Chris

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