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Chance to see pass free of cars

Naomi Havlen

Your chance to see Independence Pass before it opens to automobiles is Saturday at the 10th annual Ride for the Pass.The recreational and competitive bike ride benefits the Independence Pass Foundation, a local nonprofit working to repair and stabilize the area.Nearly all of the race’s entry fees go straight back to the foundation because a number of community sponsors take care of the cost of putting on the event, said foundation director Mark Fuller. That’s why the foundation is always looking for more people to take part in the day’s activities.”We really want to encourage non-racers to come out and participate,” Fuller said.A couple of rest stations along the road are the perfect place for novices or young riders to turn around.”We have a 9 a.m. start for racers, and a 9:15 start time for recreation riders, so you won’t get caught up in all the Spandex guys swooping by,” he said. “It’s a good time at a leisurely pace, and it’s worth it to get in on door prizes.”

The race ends at the Independence ghost town, 10 miles from the start of the course.This is just the first event for the Independence Pass Foundation this summer. There are some restoration projects planned for the pass itself.The foundation’s biggest project this year is building a stabilizing wall at the “middle cut,” located farther up Highway 82 from the biggest wall alongside the highway. Fuller said the wall will be 400 feet long, and involves building, back-filling and rebuilding the slope overhead.The project will begin in late September or early October so as not to interrupt summer traffic and could cost about $200,000, he said.Also this fall, the foundation hopes to install compost on the steep slopes below the road that are barren. Fuller said members hope to do some planting in the fortified soil, since it’s been determined that the biggest factor keeping vegetation from that slope is a lack of nutrients in the soil.Independence Pass opens up to automobile traffic on May 28, in the mid-afternoon.Registration for the Ride for the Pass is available online at http://www.independencepass.org. The entry fee is $30 for individuals, $60 for a family of up to four with children under 12. Call 963-4959 for more information.


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