Letter: City’s e-bike decision will change Emerald forever | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: City’s e-bike decision will change Emerald forever

We are disappointed with Steamboat Springs City Council’s approval of e-bikes on Emerald Mountain. City Council failed the citizens of Steamboat Springs with this decision.

On Oct. 14, Craig Robinson, parks, open space and trails manager, presented the results of the Engage Steamboat survey to the Park and Recreation Commission. This survey had one question related to e-bike use on Emerald: “Do you support a trial period allowing Class 1 e-bikes on all city-owned Emerald Mountains trails?” Out of the 115 responses, 61 said no and 40 said yes. There were 14 responses that fell in the middle. A clear and distinct majority. The Parks and Recreation Commission also voted against allowing e-bikes on Emerald Mountain.

Emerald Mountain is the prime gem of Steamboat. A unique amenity that no other town can come close to matching. Now it’s close to being changed forever.

You will now be able to use motorized vehicles anywhere up there. The purity of the human-powered experience is gone. Oh sure, we’ll get pushback from those that say we’re splitting hairs, that’s it’s just a little motor, can hardly even see it. And it’s just for a little while, a “trial” period. But there’s the rub. It’s a motor.

That’s not splitting hairs. Splitting hairs is trying to distinguish between Class 1, 2 and 3 type e-bikes. The difference between motorized and non-motorized is about as simple as it gets. Keep motorized vehicles on motorized trails.

Director of Parks and Recreation Angela Cosby’s reasoning makes me cringe: “They are here. It’s going to be hard to turn back around and not allow it.”

The ones that are here already are here illegally. Just because some people do illegal things, should we make it legal? What a can of worms that is. If you think it’s hard to stop now, what’s it going to be like after a year of being legal?

No, there will be no turning back. Gone forever.

We’ve put time and muscle volunteering to help build some of those trails. There are a lot of people who put in more time and muscle than we did and, we assume, did so to increase the hiking, running and mountain bike trails — not motorized trails. Not sure we want to volunteer to unwittingly help build any more motorized trails.

And so, sadly, Steamboat will lose another unique charm that make it such a special place.

Sandy and Mike Kent

Steamboat Springs

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