Coalition files suit over road access near Irwin

Group seeking legal remedy to long simmering dispute

By Will Shoemaker

Where the U.S. Forest Service and Gunnison County leaders have failed thus far, access advocacy group Lake Irwin Coalition (LIC) hopes to prevail. A lawsuit filed last week contests an Irwin-area landowner’s right to restrict public access to a road believed to have existed for more than 125 years.

LIC and Irwin resident John Biro filed the suit Sept. 8 in Gunnison District Court against landowner J.W. Smith, seeking to establish that Green Lake Road is a public right-of-way. The route, near Lake Irwin west of Crested Butte, has been a source of controversy in recent years. In August 2016, Smith erected a gate blocking the public from using the road.

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