Friday, February 22, 2008

Local politicos say no to moto park

A story in Friday's Gazette notes that Sen. John Morse and Rep. Michael Merrifield (bothDemocrats) wrote letters to state natural resources director Harris Sherman (also a Dem) opposing the proposed Corral Bluffs motorcycle park.
Now, El Paso County commissioner Jim Bensberg is complaining that they didn't ask him first, saying “It is not right and it is not fair.”

Looking at this not from a pro and anti motorcycle point of view, but simply from a local politics angle, Bensberg has a lot of brass. His plan for a motorcycle park came out of nowhere, with no public comment process, and I would bet, no letters to local politicians.

His complaining may do little good. It looks increasingly like the local Republican will run into a blue Democratic wall of opposition. If he wanted to get this thing through, he should have tried to rush this through when Gov. Bill Owens and his less tree-hugger inclined Natural Resources Department were still in place. He might have had a chance.

I would guess that Sherman and the Parks board won't go out on a limb for a controversial project in a Republican commissioner's back yard.

This whole thing may be a lesson in knowing what your politicians' passtimes are before you vote. It obviously effects their policy.
Bensberg is a big motorcycle guy.
Merrifield is an avid mountain biker.
I'm not sure about Morse. Anyone?


Anonymous said...

He's not an outdoors kind of guy.

zen said...

Yea the whole thing just seemed to rise up out of nowhere very quickly, and that kind of thing is always viewed with a skeptical eye.

In other words, if its such a great project, what's with the rush?

I still say they should look at land within the buffer zone east of Fort Carson. It seems to be a perfect use for this "no mans land".

al said...

I kind of like the idea of engineering an area, a big-boys' version of the bicycle hills down by Goose Gossage park on Mark Dabling. That way they can periodically put back the topographical features that will inevitably be ground down. Use an area that has no (or little) other use, and destroy only what you've built, not what was already there.

Chris said...

"local politicos"? More like pawns of the hook and boot crowd. Nothing new there.

Yep, he is rightly irritated that those guys were too busy to pick up the phone and ask a question, instead they attempted to do an end run in something that is nothing of their business. It is OHV money folks they are trying to deny. Money that comes from the licensing of OHV's.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Chris! My, but you're busy advocating for this park everywhere.

You keep neglecting the fact that our county is putting more money up for this park than anyone (to the tune of $550,000). (Just for starters...)

I also think it's funny that Bensberg is bent about this. 'None of their business?' Really? Last time I checked, we have reps at the State level, too, not just county. Seems like the State reps are, surprise, surprise, actually listening to their constituents, unlike Bensberg. And, doesn't look to me like Bensberg is YOUR rep- correct me if I'm wrong, but Parker's not in El Paso County. He needs to be reminded that he's NOT an AMA lobbyist anymore. He's supposed to be representing his consituents in El Paso County, not the OHV crowd.

The all powerful Bensberg's ego is bruised because someone's actually asking questions. He's peeved because they didn't contact him first. How's that feel, exactly? Sort of like them ramming this park through without contacting the (non-motorcycle)community? Cry me a river.

Chris, if this is such a great idea, why don't you take it up with your local politicians? Looks like there's plenty of money in the OHV fund to get it rolling...

Chris said...

It is the same if you apply for an open space grant down there in El Paso County, I get my rep here in Parker to use his heavy handed influence to try and shut down your project. I don't think you feel that it was fair.

Same with OHV dollars, they are just that OHV dollars-not open space dollars.

I can appreciate the argument of "you are an outsider". I will keep that in mind when spending dollars in and around Springs. I won't abide by the argument as I now realize that distances, county and city boundaries mean less now in 2008 as they did in 1808. You can I can advocate for causes across the country as we can for causes down the highway.

I would be thrilled if my county was chosen for a motorcycle park-but alas my county commissioners are not near as visionary as yours.

Again, OHV riders are being marginalized as non-human. Sorry, we are taxpaying (a lot of taxes actually) folks as well and deserve a percentage of that space.

Anonymous said...


You have a fine future in politics- you're quite good at dancing around my points without actually addressing them. And you conveniently keep ignoring facts.

First- YES, we are talking about open space dollars. That would be the Regional Park Fund and Conservation Trust Fund from which the $550,000 is coming. This is not going to be a state park, it is going to be an El Paso County Regional Park, to be used only by the motorcycling community. The taxpayers of El Paso County are going to be responsible for this park- NOT YOU.

As far as the OHV crowd being taxpayers. Agreed, you pay taxes. So do I. So does everyone else. And, I thought the 'big selling' point of this park is that there are no tax dollars going to it? So, it's a moot point.

My entire point was that the state reps didn't contact the county in much the same way as the county didn't contact it's OWN consituents, and Bensberg got pissy. I found humor in that. You can't argue the point that he is good at dishing, but not good at receiving.

Have a good day!

John said...

I am a native to El Paso County and support the OHV park. I am aware of at least two public meetings that have been held and at both meetings the OHV community was well represented. I have some research to do with respect to funding, however my current understanding is that all funding for this park is from state OHV funds and that user fees will maintain the park, thus requiring zero dollars from non-OHVers.

Bottom line is that this is an attempt to relieve pressure from the National Forests as our state's population increases in a minimal impact self sustaining way. The park is next to the dump, Peterson, two motocross tracks and CS Airport. There have been suggestions for other sites and I'm sure the OHV's are open to suggestions. This site seems good as Aztec Raceway (motocross track) will manage user fees etc.

This is exactly the type of facility that is needed for the public interest, all of the public not just those who hate OHV's. There are currently three trail systems that allow motorcycles in El Pasy County. A tiny fraction of the available trails in the area.

John said...

BTW - Jim Bensberg IS serving his constituency by promoting the OHV park - me, may family and large group of responsible motorcyclists.

Anonymous said...

Hi, John-

Your assumption about the funding for this park is common because it's been the talking point of the proponents. However, it is inaccurate. The total park cost is over $1.5 million- $550,000 from El Paso County Parks, $320,000 from an OHV Grant, $26,000 (at present) donations from motorcyclists, and the rest is in-kind contributions. So, a good chunk of this is coming from El Paso County coffers- Regional Park Fees and Conservation Trust Fund dollars ($275,000 each).

I'm aware of the two meetings held with State Trails and State Parks, both of which had good representation by both proponents and opponents of the park. The meetings I am referencing are those held by Bensberg/Wolken with the motorcycle community ONLY, and go back to October. The general public was not informed about these meetings.

There has been NO open, public input with respect to this park. The general public did NOT find out about it until after the contract was put on the land and the money allocated by the county.