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Develop Avon Conflunce, not Eagle River Preserve

Tom Boyd

Fellow earthlings, we have aliens among us.

Someone, or perhaps a handful of people, most of whom hail from alternate universes, believe that the Avon Confluence is equally important as open space as the Eagle River Preserve (Eaton Ranch).

A Vail Daily Tipsline writer (who did not leave his/her name, I noticed), claimed that Harry Frampton was the overlord behind both projects, and that Frampton was looking for a way to keep Eaton Ranch as open space so that he could exploit and develop the Avon Confluence site. All of this, I’m sure, was part of Lord Frampton’s plan to rule the universe.

We here on earth have our feet on the ground and our priorities straight. First and foremost, the environment is the important thing. And the most important thing in the environment is the river.

I’ve seen the plans for the Avon Confluence and questioned its developers at length as to how they intend to care for the river. They are allowing for an ample riparian zone and they are building fish habitat and a kayak park along that stretch of river. I used to live right next to the Confluence site, and I can tell you that the Confluence plans are a VAST improvement to the environmental quality of the area.

The Eaton Ranch parcel, however, is already in good environmental shape. The “gravel pit,” as Don Rogers loves to call it, is on it’s way to reparation, and many acres of wetlands are adjacent. Eaton’s ranch is on the river-left portion of the plot. According to the contract made with the gravel company, the entire area that was dug up must be returned to its original state as pastureland.

Therefore, the Eaton Ranch parcel, left untouched by development, would be a big, beautiful stretch of land in the heart of the most populous part of the valley. Much bigger than the confluence, much more central, and in much, much better environmental shape.

If we raise a few more dollars, the Foundation will be able to buy it and keep it the way it should be. If not, Rick Hermes and friends would like to develop it. I have yet to see a developer (besides Harry Frampton and Merv Lapin) do a good job of caring for a river in this valley. I’d like to think Hermes would, but I have my doubts. The river would certainly be worse off if “Riverwalk part II” were installed in the riparian zone in Eaton Ranch. Or a car dealership. Or some super-mega store.

Fortunately, things are going my way, which serves us well here on earth. We’ll have a large, beautiful preserve in the heart of Edwards and a much improved plot of land at the Avon Confluence (not to mention a truly rippin’ kayak park).

Earth to aliens: message complete.


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