Does paving really cause overpopulation, famine, and drought?

Letter from Bill Perry

Cottonwood Pass – November 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine


Thanks for featuring the Cottonwood Pass dilemma in the October issue of Colorado Central Magazine. Your letter from the editor on this controversy was dead on target; paving isn’t the issue!

Paving has been used to portend everything from the next great depression to overpopulation, famine, and drought beyond anything the world has experienced.

Opponents label advocates of paving this narrow, twisting, over-utilized and under-maintained, dirty, unhealthy, hazardous, 13.5-mile trail anti-American and against motherhood and apple pie. They resort to calling proponents names and demeaning neighboring communities.

Marija Vader’s article further obfuscated whatever issues there may be for not paving Cottonwood Pass with inaccurate data and ramblings unrelated to the topic.

She added pork-barrel beneficiaries and vultures to the list of names proponents have been called and labeled them anti-Cuban refugee, anti-Russian human rights, and anti-cattle. Anywhere on either side of this 13.5-mile dirt road is Nowheresville.

Throughout all this, there is no substantiation to any of their claims and assertions; just a myriad of discontent from a variety of special interests that use Cottonwood Pass as a rallying point.

There are valid issues on either side of this controversy. Proponents for paving envision the following benefits and opponents see them as dire consequences:

>Safety, reliability and dependability;

>Improved health and comfort;

>Improvement of Gunnison County’s economy;

>Less expensive and easier to maintain;

>Limited alternative access from/to the eastern slope;

>Improved ecology and better environmental safeguards;

>Elimination of a rough, dusty, over-utilized road;

>Vegetation won’t grow on the road; and

>Special Interests will have to find a new rallying point.

The main difference between the two camps is that most proponents of paving Cottonwood Pass advocate upgrading the Taylor Canyon road while most opponents want one at the expense of the other.

I travel the Taylor Canyon road about as often as the “Mouth of Taylor Canyon” travels Cottonwood Pass so I find it hard to get worked up about her pothole concern which, by the way, is a maintenance problem that Gunnison County is contractually obligated to address.

When I do travel the Taylor Canyon road, I simply allow more time and take it slow. The roughness caused by the fifteen or so potholes per mile provides variety from the usual fifteen or so washboards per yard on the western approach to Cottonwood Pass.

Bill Perry

Buena Vista