Quick TR, Crested Butte via Schofield Pass

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 2, 2007      

Headed over to Crested Butte, Colorado today, drove our Jeep while the rest of the WildSnow crew mountain biked. Beautiful as always, driving or biking, either way works for me! Was a bit bummed because the US Forest Service was up to their usual tricks, spending your tax money on “improving” what’s normally a fun and interesting Jeep trail. Had a funny encounter with one of their employees working on the road.

The guy was up there tooling around on his quad, and stopped to chat.

“I’m up hare improvin’ the road,” he said.

“No you’re not, you’re ruining the road,” was my reply.

Pause in conversation.

“Wadya mean! We’s up hare maken it safer, you know all those folks get killed up har.”

“So that means you’ve got to smooth all the rough sections where no one has ever been hurt, and drive a dozer around turning rocks over with no net change in the road surface?


Yeah, our tax money at work. And this is the US Forest Service that’s “short on funds.”

I call BS on that.

Road report: You can now drive a 2×2 high clearance over Schofield. At least till the next hard rain washes all the fill out your tax money paid for.

Schofield road signs.
The classic signs at the top of the Punchbowl section of Schofield Pass Road, with a Photoshop modification the Forest Service might want to take note of. The shoe hanging on the sign has some unknown Freudian significance.


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11 Responses to “Quick TR, Crested Butte via Schofield Pass”

  1. Matt Berglund August 2nd, 2007 8:32 pm

    Lou- i would have to agree. It seems as if the Forrest Service in this neck of the woods (Crested Butte) is not doin much to help at all. Under my opinion; the FS doesn’t do much more than make the roads somewhat smooth, and invite uneducated tourist into 4×4 jeep roads that they think are 2x paths. Ive been in the “Devils’ Punchbowl” many times jeepin’, when some father of a family will ask me what he is getting himself into? I ususally tell them that he is in over his head and to drivin his chevy impala around outta here. The FS is suckering people into roads they can’t drive!

    Not to mention; over here the squeaky wheel gets the grease. 2nd homeowners who buy their way into the community complain until they get things their way. While real citizens of CB who work to survive here are only trying to pay for their homes (if they can even afford one) and get in their play time on the weekends.

    Underfunded or not, the FS is still hurting the real people of the community; who do not have the time to sit around and write complaint letters or call in.

    Sorry for my rant! On a side note; I saw the RumbleBee drive down Elk Ave; she’s looking pretty good!

  2. Lou August 3rd, 2007 5:25 am

    Matt, indeed yes, I forgot to mention that the “scree hill” on the Crystal side of the Punchbowl was almost totally blocked by some guy who had to abandon his stock Cherokee because he flatted a street tire and his spare. Probably because the FS road “improvements” pulled up a bunch of razor sharp rocks from the trailbed. And he was obviously there because the graded road up above sucked him into a situation he wasn’t prepared for.

    The other annoying thing about the “safety improvements” is that they didn’t work one penny’s worth on improving or creating any turnouts on the long narrow sections where a few of those could really help with the weekend traffic jams.

    Man oh man, what a good example of wasted tax money.

    Glad you saw the Bee! She is doin good, but was pretty bummed with having to wheel those new 2×2 roads.

  3. Ken Gross August 3rd, 2007 9:29 am

    Nannyism in action, reminds me of a thread over on 14ers.com about the lost hiker on Holy Cross… someone started chiming in about needing more signage because so many people get lost up there… kind-of makes me sick. If you cant navigate your way up and down a mountian… then you shouldnt be there. Likewise if a road is too tough for passenger cars and street oriented SUVs they should stick to the pavement. I think the Forest Service needs a major shake-up… perhaps one of the most poorly managed buearocracy in this country

  4. Jeff Prillwitz August 3rd, 2007 1:20 pm

    The real problem is that many forest service employees have the same prejudices that so many of the anti motorized crowd have. They can’t understand why a motorized recreationist would not want the road improved. When you wrongly believe that a person is “too lazy to walk” it is only natural to believe that making things easier would be appreciated. Jeepers and dirt bikers are just like hikers and climbers. They exist at all levels of skill and many want to improve that skill. And just like most members of all groups they love the outdoors. I’ve climbed several hundred mountains, ride my bicycle 50 miles roundtrip to work, have hiked thousands of miles and done countless backcountry ski trips. Without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done was a 26 mile dirt bike ride in southern Colorado. Walking would have been far easier. The forest service and the multi-million dollar anti-OHV organizations would accomplish so much more if they could only put aside their prejudice and learn to work with other recreationists. Until that happens we will continue to see “improvements” that only worsen the situation.

  5. Mike August 3rd, 2007 8:54 pm

    I am going to be in the area next week…Thanks for your report. We were thinking Schofiled but might change the plan. I was on it last June and from the sounds of it; the road has certainly changed.

    Refresh my memory…Any idea of the mileage and time from CB to Marble via Schofield?

    Have you guys been getting some good afternoon showers?


  6. Lou August 4th, 2007 6:48 am

    Mike, figure 4 hours from Marble to CB if you want to do some stops along the way (lunch and stuff), and deal with traffic at the Punchbowl. You can drive it much faster than that if you don’t do any stops.

  7. gerry August 4th, 2007 9:41 pm

    folks, first off, start using firefox, it has an inline spell check. if you’re going to rant against an agency as being stupid, then at least present yourself as somewhat intelligent and spell words like FOREST and BUREAUCRACY correctly.

    lou- again, your anti-FS propaganda is somewhat misplaced. running into a seasonal in the backcountry and then posting your opinion based on their response is mis representative. while i don’t work for the agency, i know a lot of hard working, well intentioned people that have values similar to your own that do.

    i would like to request that before you post, at least call the local ranger district to get a somewhat intelligent reply to your inquiry. otherwise, all the readers of this blog will be whipped into a froth over potentially baseless claims over people “wasting taxpayers dollars.” as if some seasonal can explain what’s happening with as much accuracy as the person who put together the work plan?

    and then, let’s stop the piggybacking on the fs about “mis spending taxpayers dollars.” if you want to worry about the government really wasting your money, then i would suggest looking at some of our foreign spending right now. the FS is a mere blip of the federal government’s budgets.

    additionally, as multiple use managers (recreation (not ohv’s jeeps, hiking, etc. but recreation altogether) of public lands, the FS can’t make everyone happy. if someone were to be told they couldn’t drive their impala up on that road but wanted to (instead of being suckered up there) you can be damn sure a usfs staff person would get a phone call on monday morning and have to listen to some idiot complain “not being able to access their public lands.”

    yes, they are mismanaged, yes, they have serious issues and need a shake up (and more funding) but NO, your post doesn’t really reflect any of this. and, as a commenter said people “don’t have time to write letters, etc. etc. etc.” then why do people have so much time to comment on this blog? it’s a matter of priorities. if you really care so much, get organized, get a voice and weigh in. complaining and griping gets you nowhere, other than a feel good comment on a blog.

  8. pete anzalone August 4th, 2007 10:02 pm

    If the feds can’t manage a bunch of forests, just think how well they’ll do with health care.

  9. Lou August 5th, 2007 6:52 am

    Gerry, thanks for the comment. I assure you that many people who post here do plenty to “weigh in.” Also, a few misspelled words do not invalidate a person’s opinion or participation — and we don’t necessarily need Firefox, as there are plenty of form spelling checkers out there that one can use for blog posts if they so desire.

    As for the USFS or any government agency, I’m comfortable judging them by their actions.

    BTW, the word “Firefox” must not be in your spell checker — as far as I can tell it’s spelled with a capital F. But I still value your opinion (grin).

    Pete, that’s just too logical.

  10. Ricky August 6th, 2007 8:31 am

    Down here in Texas we CAPITALIZE words like “I” and the first words of sentences… keeps us from looking ignorant. Especially when were calling other people out.

  11. Jefferson August 9th, 2007 11:44 am

    Mr. Dawson,

    My family has owned inholdings in this valley for over a century and we’ll take your comments on road this canyon’s road “improvements” one better.

    The Crystal Canyon shelf road is very dangerous. I know from experience since when very bad – fatal – accidents happen there my are usually the first asked to come pick up the pieces. I am most annoyed to discover that the Forest Service is doing this as it will indeed tempt the wrong kind of driver to try their luck. No economically feasible improvements can make that road safer.

    Folks like yourself – experienced 4×4 drivers in very small groups – are fine. What is not fine are jeep clubs driving through in groups of ten or more. Leaving their manners aside for the moment, the shelf road was not built to take that kind of traffic.

    I personally think that my grandfather, who prospected and mined this valley, had an effective solution. One summer a few decades back when the snowbridge was low and jeep clubs were going crazy
    he took some of his dynamite and used a slide to cut the road.

    A crowbar would do just as nicely….

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