At their May 23, 2023 regular meeting, Gunnison County commissioners voted to extend the exemption to OHV traffic on CR 3 between Marble and the top of Daniel’s Hill until January 2024.
The LKL working group and subsequent stakeholder process has established that the OHV exemption on County Road 3 has created a decline in the quality of life and the health and safety of Marble and Crystal residents, a divisive issue within the community, and road and environmental degradation which no one has the resources to mitigate. The list includes issues of dust, pollution, noise and wildlife and recreationalist displacement.
CVEPA is directed by our mission to protect and preserve the natural environment and its scenic resources as well as restore it and maintain the integrity of the ecosystems within the Crystal River watershed. Consequently, CVEPA cannot endorse any effort that seeks to accommodate or provide infrastructure to the very activity that is causing the problems we are all trying to mitigate. This includes providing special parking for trucks and trailers to import a use that, by state law is prohibited.
While CVEPA recognizes and respects the autonomy of the Town of Marble to make their own decisions on what they allow within their jurisdiction, we believe that the Gunnison County Commissioners must act in the best interest of all Gunnison County residents and lift the exemption to state law prohibiting OHV traffic on county roads, thus providing its citizens with the same protection that benefits the State of Colorado and the rest of Gunnison County
Once a hidden gem amongst the many scenic treasures of the Upper Crystal Valley, the Lead King Loop has exploded in popularity with recreationalists of all stripes in recent years. While hikers, cyclists, snowshoers and skiers continue to explore the loop in non-motorized ways, traffic from off highway vehicles has dramatically increased, bringing with it unwanted impacts on residents, wildlife and vegetation, and taking from many the opportunity for a peaceful experience with nature and an increasingly rare quality of life.
While residents of Crystal share the increase in noise, dust, sanitation and safety concerns with their neighbors in Marble, it is that tiny town which has become the gateway to the loop and as such, has had to confront the onslaught of issues that have come as a result of unmanaged travel.
In 2018, Gunnison County Commissioners tasked the Marble Board of Trustees to form a working group to begin laying the groundwork to develop a recreation management plan for the LKL. Members of the group include representatives from the White River National Forest Service, Gunnison County, Western Colorado University, Marble, Crystal, and CVEPA.
Currently led by Ron Leach, Town Administrator, and Corrine Truesdell, Masters candidate in Environmental Management at Western Colorado University, the group is trying to find enforceable ways to mitigate impacts while assisting the Forest Service in gathering data of loop users, a required, multi-year process in developing recreation management plans on FS roads.
While many support the goals of the working group, others in the community believe change should happen more quickly through County action. Alex Menard, head of the Marble History Museum, is one of the proponents for immediate change.
Read the Convening Report that Describes Recent Working Group Activities - Complied by Corrine Truesdell
It’s Time for the Dust to Settle - CVEPA Crystal Clear Spring 2021 article, pg 2, by Suzy Meredith-Orr
Parking is a choke point in Marble's motorized-use conundrum - Aspen Journalism article by Curtis Wackerle
Visiting the Crystal Mill: Whose Road Is It Anyway? - by Gregory Staple
OHV authorization will continue near Marble, but clock is ticking - Aspen Journalism article by Curtis Wackerle
Residents of Marble and Crystal say 13-mile Lead King Loop is being loved to death - Aspen Journalism article by Heather Sackett