Editorial: Vail wetlands vs. sand
Sand has been threatening Vail’s creeks as long as cars have been rolling over Vail Pass on Interstate 70.The sand, among the top environmental concerns in the valley, have choked off stretches of Black Gore Creek, interrupting the fragile lives of insects and the fish that feed on them. Black Gore Creek, and the sand, eventually flow in Vail’s signature Gore Creek – imagine tourists aghast at the unsightly sandbars under the Covered Bridge. That hasn’t happened because local activists have been pressuring the Colorado Department of Transportation to stop the sand. To the agency’s credit, it picked up more sand this past winter than it spilled. But another of the state’s plans to keep the sand from Vail’s picture-postcard creek has been halted by environmental concerns of an entirely different sort. The agency had planned to dredge 60,000 tons of sand from a pond in Black Gore Creek that acts like a sand trap. The pond is now full, raising fears the sand could pour along the golf course and into the village. In the way of the state’s plan to empty the pond is a wetlands recently discovered at the site. Wetlands are considered fragile and precious in the environmental world, and more study needs to be done on the pond to gauge the extent of the wetlands and if digging out the sand would destroy them. We hope wetlands fever doesn’t derail the more important project of keeping sand out of Gore Creek. However, if a bone fide wetlands is destroyed, it has to be replaced somewhere else. We hope that happens, too. – Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.