I thought this letter to the editor was interesting and posed a creative solution to some of the issues raised on this blog, particularly given our previous discussions about privatization of recreation, concessionaires, and the importance of hiring people in poor rural areas and treating members of the workforce with adequate pay and safety. I can’t figure out quite how the unemployed issue would relate to the Roaring Fork Valley, though; because there are so many well-off people there, the cost of housing is so high that everyone who is not well-off might be considered underemployed. Would that we had an economist on call for this blog!
Here’s the link and below is the letter.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District’s budget is out for next summer, and they get four summer employees for the entire district. One of those will be trail crew to clear more than 500 miles of trail. This past summer, the district had four on-trail crew members, and they still didn’t quite get all the trails cleared. Be prepared for some tough hiking next summer.
The Roaring Fork Valley makes a lot of money from national forest use. Perhaps those who make the money would be willing to help the district maintain the facilities. A trail-crew person cost the Forest Service $20,000 for the season, including all benefits. The Forest Service cannot solicit donations but can accept donations for a specific purpose.
An organization needs to step forward to act as a clearinghouse for money donated if we want our visitors to have a quality experience next summer.