Let’s preserve Colorado River Ranch | VailDaily.com

Let’s preserve Colorado River Ranch

Cody Doig
Vail, CO, Colorado

I have spent my entire life in Eagle County. I hope to return upon graduation (from law school in Denver). More importantly, I hope I can return without seeing another debacle like Brightwater 12 miles up the Colorado River Road. That’s exactly what Eagle County needs, another golf course. I’m 100 percent behind the Colorado River Ranch conservation easement.

The CRR easement has garnered a significant amount of press (surprise, surprise) due to the price of the development rights. Once again, critics claim that the price outweighs the public benefit. Once again, the critics miss the point(s).

This may come as a shock, but public benefit does not require public access. “Public benefit” includes preserving wildlife corridors, safeguarding scenic vistas, prolonging true “cowboy” heritage and ensuring responsible and curtailed development in an already overdeveloped valley. Our nation is founded on principles of “public benefit” that do not require immediate tangible rewards.

In fact, you, the reader, pay daily for our public education system. Will you argue that our education system does not provide public benefit if you yourself did not attend? Come on, now.

Second, critics who say development is subsiding are terribly nearsighted. The Colorado River Valley will be around for a lot longer than any of us. Who could possibly say that it “won’t” be developed? Do yourself a favor, and get on the Eagle County Web site and look at the intensively studied development patterns of Eagle County: http://www.eaglecounty.us/commDev/planning.cfm.

Or look at our historical pattern of development: The river valleys always go first, then the attendant tributary systems, and then the scenic vistas adjacent thereto.

It may not happen tomorrow, but unless we utilize the Eagle Valley Land Trust and the open space tax aggressively, it’s only a matter of time.

Make no mistake, I understand the value of a dollar and the necessity of people and jobs in a suffering economy.

But unlike the economy, open space doesn’t come back. Those ranches that define our heritage don’t come back.

Call me a romantic, but I think a fifth-generation cowboy with lines in his hands as deep as those in the land is irreplaceable. Seems simple to me, but I’ve been wrong before.

I hope the commissioners save the CRR.

More importantly, I hope other citizens in Eagle County, especially the younger generation, speak up. It’s your home.

Do something about it.

Cody Doig

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