Piney road proposal under review |

Piney road proposal under review

Cliff Thompson

Since 1970 the owners of 88 acres overlooking Piney Lake north of Vail have wanted to build a driveway through U.S. Forest Service property to access their land.

This summer, they may get their chance. The measure is being reviewed by the Forest Service, which is taking the required public comments on the project.

Vail 88 LLC is owned by the relatives of the Marugg family who have owned the property since the mid-1930s, said Al Heinrich, one of the family members. They want to build two cabins on the property that will be used seasonally. The mile-long driveway they have waited three decades to build will, as proposed, zIg-zag up the hillside north and west of Piney Lake.

“Even though it’s right on the hill, because of how it’s benched and the aspen groves there it is not very visible,” said Howard Kahlow a lands specialist with the Forest Service. That road will branch off from the existing road used to access Piney Lake.

Under federal law, access to private land that is surrounded by public land cannot be denied by the Forest Service or other federal agencies. How it is accessed, however, is regulated by the public agency.

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Heinrich said his family wants to build two cabins on the property and will likely sell one of them to pay for the expense of building the road. The cost of that road is expected to exceed $100,000, he said.

The starting elevation of the road is 9,500 feet and it will ascend to 10,000 feet. Heinrich said there are several small ponds on the property which sits atop the hill over looking Piney Lake.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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