The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 47 - 7/20/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Some Property Owners Opposed to Fremont Lake Walking/Biking Path
"I'll do everything in my power to oppose it," says a property owner, who asked to remain anonymous, along County Road 101 of the proposed Pinedale Shared Use Path leading from the Pinedale Cemetery to the CCC Ponds just above Fremont Lake. Another property owner, Rex Headd of Rock Springs, threatened legal action if the path was constructed. The proposed path is adjacent to both these individuals' properties, and these owners are joined by others who raise safety, nuisance and wildlife concerns with the proposed pathway.
The proposed 8-foot wide pathway will begin just north of the Pinedale Cemetery, and run along the west side of the Fremont Lake Road until it intersects with County Road 101. The Pathway will cross County Road 101, and travel adjacent to it for a short ways on the north side until CR-101 intersects with County Road 118.
The pathway will veer to the north on CR-118, cross onto Jim and Daphne Platts' property to switchback up a steep grade, and then run along BLM ground to the CCC ponds, crossing the Highland Canal along the way.
The paved path will be a total of 2.45 miles long.
According to Dave Bell, Recreation Board Chairman and President of the Pinedale Pathway Citizens' Committee, the estimated cost for the pathway is $476,462. Of this total, $400,000 is being funded by two grants from the State of Wyoming. Sublette County, through the Recreation Board, is providing $77,852 for the project.
All of the property owners the Journal spoke to who opposed the project, felt a pathway to Fremont Lake was a good idea, they just thought the proposed route for this pathway was a bad one.
"The location on the lake road is bad," says Marlenn Wise. Last May, the Recreation Board voted to put another $23,000 towards the project. One of the Rec Board members, Mr. Wise, lives on CR-101 and opposes the project. He voted against the additional funding.
First, Mr. Wise notes that the 10-foot easements through the subdivisions along the Fremont Lake Road were put in place to eventually widen the road. The construction of a walking path will prevent this.
Secondly, Mr. Wise says the intersection of the Lake Road and CR-101 is very dangerous. A hill and berm obstructs the sight distance of downhill traffic and the current turn onto CR-101 is tight. "I don't know how they're going to crowd a bicycle path there," he says.
Mr. Wise is also concerned about the $476,0462 estimated price tag. Bids for the project haven't gone out yet, and Mr. Wise believes the final price could be much higher.
The most significant reason Mr. Wise opposes the path is that as proposed, it would cross a mule deer and antelope migration route across the BLM land south of Fremont Lake. "I don't like the intrusion into the deer and antelope migration route," he says, adamantly. "I just don't think the migration route should be disturbed anymore than it is now," he concludes.
Another property owner is also concerned about the "hazardous" turn onto CR-101 from the Fremont Lake Road. Mostly, though, this property owner who didn't want his name revealed, fears the extra traffic and nuisance impacts from the pathway. For example, in the wintertime, he believes the pathway will be used by snowmobilers and he doesn't want to put up with the noise and smoke. "It's a very excellent idea," he concludes saying he is "100% for a bike/jogging path to Fremont Lake," he just doesn't want it to run in front of his house.
Property owner Keith Spence also opposed the location of the path, though he feels there is "nothing wrong with the idea."
Rex Headd owns property just east of the shooting range and north of CR-101. Mr. Headd opposes the path, and he plans to build a nice cabin on his property sometime in the future. He's angry that no one has spoken to him about the proposal, and even threatens legal action if the pathway is completed.
One property owner we contacted, Ken Parry, supports the pathway.and said he's never opposed to it.
Crowell Orcutt Dean Gift
The pathway will begin by switchbacking up a steep grade of county land north just the Pinedale Cemetery. In 1993, this particular piece of property was given to Sublette County by Crowell Orcutt Dean, under the condition that within 10 years, the county establish the property as a "permanent geological and historical interpretive site." According to Mr. Wise, the property is geologically significant because it served as the terminal moraine for between 5 and 7 glaciers. At the Rec Board meeting in May, Mr. Wise questioned whether the proposed pathway, which would run along Ms. Dean's former property, would violate the spirit of her gift to the county.
In June of 1998, the County Commissioners quit claim deeded Ms. Dean's property to the Town of Pinedale, with the restriction that the interpretive site be established by July 1, 2000. It hasn't been, and, as per the quit claim deed, on July 1, the property reverted back to the county.
Mr. Wise says that about three weeks ago, he was asked by Pinedale Mayor Rose Skinner to begin work in planning the interpretive site.
Dave Bell Responds
Concerning the safety issue raised by Mr. Wise and the other property owners, Mr. Bell responds that runners, walkers and bikers are using the existing Fremont Lake Road now, and "it's got to be safer having people on a pathway than on the road."
Concerning the intersection with CR-101, Mr. Bell acknowledges that it's dangerous. He personally has had several close calls on the bridge over the Highland Ditch just above the intersection, and has had people pull out in front of him from CR-101 as he was traveling down the Fremont Lake Road on his bicycle. He'd like to see some kind of barrier designed which would separate the path from the road and vehicle traffic. "I recognize it's tight in there," says Mr. Bell. "We would like to have a little more room, but we just don't."
About Ms. Dean's property, Mr. Bell says the pathway will be constructed on an existing road bed located on the parcel, and that he doesn't see how the path would interfere with any geological interpretive signs or other features.
Mr. Bell refered the Journal to County Planner Joanne Garnett to respond to Mr. Wise's concerns about disturbing the deer and antelope migration route.
Ms. Garnett wrote the Enviromental Assessment (EA) for the path and spoke to Game & Fish Biologist Doug McWhirter about the migration route. She says Mr. McWhirter told her the G&F would not object to the path as long as it was not fenced, and if signs were put up requiring dogs to be "under control" - i.e. leashed.
Construction Could Begin This Fall
Ms. Garnett's EA for the pathway has already been submitted to the BLM for review. For his part, Mr. Bell wants to go to bid for the project this summer, and hopefully have construction begin this fall
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