Vail Daily letter: Access denied
July 14, 2014
I am severely saddened and concerned as a lifelong resident and a steward of our forests about access to taxpayer land here in Vail. The Forest Service is completely compartmentalized, provides zero answers (plus attitude if you ask anything questionable of what they do or plan) or any liability in taking away our taxpayer land lest they provide any answers to the taxpaying citizens' questions on why our public land has turned to private special interests. It confirms me that our "beloved" Vail Resorts would take a road that is owned by taxpayers, used by historic loggers that helped build Vail and is now inaccessible to the people that pay for it! For the public not to access these lands is tyranny! The Forest Service has granted Vail Resorts to privatize public land, deny entry and implore monetary gains for corporate profits. Dare you to drive up Benchmark, get through the gate. You will now have to pay for a private tour ($47) to access that road by motorized vehicle. I am handicapped, so access can be hard.
So, if you say so what, thanks for your thoughtfulness and overall caring/discrimination. National Forest/BLM have taken the people's land, just as Spraddle Creek, Davos, and much of the lower Vail Valley that is soon to shut down. Just go ask the Forest Service in Dowd. Just don't expect an honest answer or a solution. Our land is being criminally used and we need to stand up. If this land is stolen, so are your rights, and the laws we believe to uphold. We have rights to our land here in Vail, and our taxes need to be appropriated responsibly. The ability for Vail Resorts to take the people's land for profit and deny those that pay for it access is wrong! Obviously our local politicians have not done anything to help and left us exposed and taken! If we don't not stand up as a community, our freedom will be stolen from us all. These forests are my home, and my home (and rights) are being ransacked by Vail Resorts and our local politicians that truly sell out to better their careers or stay politically correct Let's take back our forests, demand responsibility and correct management of them for the people that make it happen and were elected to protect it! The privatization of our forests is wrong and illegal. This is the people's land, not our elected public servants and constituents. Let's make those electively responsible, accountable for their actions and actually serve the interests of the people and our Constitution.
FYI — this land shutdown happened in the Durango areas. The people fought and won. The implementation here is much more sneaky and quiet. Be aware, stay together.
Editor's note: The Forest Service released a new travel management plan last year that changed Mill Creek Road from a motorized-use road to a non-motorized road from the newly erected gate to the top of Benchmark Mountain. Vail Resorts can use the road under its permit with the Forest Service, but the road was closed to other vehicles. The public can still hike and bike the road.