The homeowners on West Buttermilk have changed the agreement that allows us to access our public lands in the winter. They want to close the gate on the road to the West Buttermilk parking lot at 5 p.m. This means that locals will no longer be able to park and hike up by moonlight to the warming hut. This has been a cherished activity for many locals, including me, for decades.

When the gate first was installed I called the county commissioners seeking information because I had used that trailhead in the summer to get onto the Government Trail for many years. I think we all deserve to be able to access our National Forest lands and public trails, particularly when it harms no one. This is a lot like the time that some of the homeowners on Red Mountain wanted to end access to the Smuggler Trail.

As in that case, West Buttermilk is an established, well-used access point. There should not be a gate at all.

Denise Handrich