Letter: Eagle Co. deer-feeding effort successful | VailDaily.com

Letter: Eagle Co. deer-feeding effort successful

Ron D. Velarde, Regional Manager
DOW Northwest Region
Vail CO, Colorado

On behalf of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the many people and agencies who participated in efforts to feed winter-stressed deer populations in the Eagle Valley. This work could not have been accomplished without everyone’s teamwork and support.

We appreciate the assistance from the local Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service offices. They provided quick approval of the feeding sites, which allowed the feeding to get started as soon as the urgent need was determined. Some federal employees even donated their time and strength to help feed the deer.

Dozens of landowners opened their lands, shared their hay and distributed deer feed and hay that we provided.

Eagle County was quick to offer the use of the fairgrounds as a staging area for the feeding operations. The fairground’s central location and easy access for equipment was crucial to our success. Because the closest DOW office is in Glenwood Springs, use of the Eagle County Fairgrounds was a logistical godsend. County employee Tom Harris loaded, unloaded, plowed, cleaned and did just about everything else to help. Thanks also to the Eagle County Landfill, whose employees plowed roads and offered assistance at every turn.

Conrad Sramek with State Telecommunications group was a tremendous help in clearing feeding sites. We also appreciate the assistance from the auto shop students at Eagle Valley High School who helped get our aging fleet of snow machines in shape.

Literally hundreds of local volunteers stepped forward and offered assistance, including members of the Eagle Town Board. We couldn’t have done this without the dedicated volunteers who were willing to show up day-after-day in cold weather to make sure that the feed was loaded and delivered. There were so many offers of assistance that we couldn’t put everyone to work. Even if you volunteered and didn’t get a chance to help, knowing you were willing to support the effort strengthened our morale and our belief that wildlife is still important to the people of Eagle County.

One group of volunteers in particular deserves a special mention. The members of the Buckhorn Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation came out in full support. While it is easy to talk the talk when it comes to conserving wildlife, the members of the local Mule Deer Foundation chapter put their ‘boots on the ground’ and walked the walk. These conservationists and sportsmen made a difference and we thank them for the help.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of the people of Eagle for the hospitality they showed during the six-week long feeding operation. From a smile and a kind word in the local convenience stores and restaurants to a quick wave by a passing motorist on a cold, snowy county road, there wasn’t a single day that our DOW personnel didn’t feel completely welcomed as part of your community.

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