Vail Daily letter: Save the wilderness
September 7, 2013
Keep it wild
The following missive was mailed to the Holy Cross Ranger District on July 18 and remains without response:
“I thought I’d seen just about everything out here (since 1971). That is, until this morning.
As a general rule, I hike up Gold Peak and Ruder’s to Chair 10, then up Log Chute to Chair 11, then down Riva and Tourist Trap, and back down Gold Peak. I do this roughly four or five days a week, alternating the customary two-hour hike.
This morning, I encountered a Mexican family pushing an occupied baby stroller down the service road from Mid-Vail to Chair 11 — and presumably beyond.
Then, upon hiking down Riva, I encountered a representative from a company who wishes to run zip-line tours down Riva, across Tourist Trap — and presumably beyond.
In regard to the baby-stroller issue, this has to be a dangerous nuisance to the maintenance crews who drive this road to Mid-Vail, especially the drivers of large equipment.
In regard to the zipline business, the east side of Vail Mountain, east of Mill Creek, east of Mid-Vail, east of Riva and Tourist Trap remains relatively pristine and free of tourist nonsense, save for downhill mountain bikers.
West of the area just described — Lionshead, etc. — is an unfettered, pagan, commercial disaster (politely advertised as “Adventure Ridge).
My purpose in writing to you today is to request that this zipline application be denied in order that some of Vail Mountain may be preserved from “lovers of money” in Biblical language, “wealth-gatherers” in the words of Plato.
Finally to those among you who have a philosophical or theological bent, I remind you of Thomas Merton’s paraphrase: “The wilderness should not be about money.””