Residents Join Together to Win Back Road
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- On Monday morning dozens of residents traveled to the Mesa County Commissioners meeting to win back rights to a public trail.
They say the backroad known as Jacob's Ladder has been used for riding jeeps and ATVs, as well as for other activities. Residents say it was taken away from them unfairly, and they want it back.
Connie Rosenthal, a resident who enjoys the trail, said, "We're just trying to get the road reopened so that we can pass it on to future generations and our kids and our grandkids."
Last spring residents who utilized S 21 1/2 Road were shocked to find a gate standing between them and the trail they've loved for years.
"It's unfortunate the situation got this far because if anyone had known that there was a road vacation being requested, we would have all been there in mass," said Rosenthal.
Researcher Brandon Sigfried said, "The unmaintained road is an easy target. It's by private landowners generally that will close it down. Depending on the public outcry, it may just stay closed."
Residents say that private landowners acted quietly in their efforts to shut the road down.
"They tried to close Jacob's Ladder road two others times, and it failed. Private landowners got together and deciphered a different plan of attack," Sigfried said.
"The fact that there were no signs posted here on Little Park and S 21 1/2 Road, where everyone would've seen the sign, and we would've all been at the hearing. The first sign was posted three miles from this point up S 21 1/2 Road. No one saw the signs, and no one showed up at the hearing to state our side," said Rosenthal.
However, word travels fast. Resident after resident pleaded with commissioners Monday morning on why this trail should be opened back up immediately.
Jody Green, a concerned citizen, said, "I've been using this land adversely probably since 1971 when I got my driver's license."
"My grandfather used it in probably the early 1900s," said another concerned citizen, Arthur Cook.
While it may look like just a bumpy road to outsiders, S 21 1/2 Road has held a place in Mesa County residents' hearts for decades.
Residents also gave commissioners safety reasons why the road should be open.
The judge in the case can choose to send the decision back to the Mesa County Commissioners, so they can vote again.