Letters to the Editor
Vail CO, Colorado
Did I say that?
Man, did I get a lot of heat about an article in the Vail Daily that quoted me as saying that people are skiing “too damn fast.” I ski pretty fast myself when the runs aren’t crowded, thus the reason for the heat.
I doubt that I said such a thing, and suspect that if I did, it was taken out of context.
Anyway, I’d just like to say for the record that speed in itself isn’t the problem. We do have a problem with people, usually young males, that ski way beyond their ability, whether intentional or not. It would appear that many of these have an exagerrated opinion of their abilities from the way they ski straight down crowded runs.
The same article said that Ken Zimmerman was grazed by a skier and had a skier in his class knocked down by a snowboarder. Since I related these incidents to your reporter, he either got his sources mixed up or we have experienced an amazing coincidence of these incidents happening to both of us at about the same time. Pretty incredible.
Editor’s note: An editing error led to the error the letter writer referred to in the last paragraph, which the Daily corrected on A1 on March 1. The reporter has the quote the letter writer referred to at the beginning of this letter in his notes taken during the interview.
The veggie solution
This letter is in response to Ryan Sutter’s commentary March 3: My family commends you for your efforts to make smart choices and to inform others of ways to sustain the environment.
However, there is something you left out when listing “prescribed treatments” for a toxic environment: vegetarianism.
Here are some statistics I pulled from Wikipedia: Intensive farming practices consume large amounts of fossil fuel and water resources and lead to emissions of harmful gases and chemicals. Animal agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, responsible for 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalents.
By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5 percent of carbon dioxide.
Animal agriculture produces 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide (which has 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide).
It also generates 64 percent of the ammonia, which contributes to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
If that wasn’t bad enough, growing the crops necessary to feed farmed animals requires nearly half of the United States’ water supply and 80 percent of its agricultural land.
Additionally, animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 70 percent of its grain. Producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits for human consumption.
I do want to emphasize that these statistics are based on industrialized, intensive farming. They are not based on animals that are grazed.
We just thought it would be helpful to inform the public of additional choices they can make to sustain our resources for future generations.
Our family isn’t perfect by any means, but we do what we can. If every single person in this country made a conscious effort to make small changes in their lifestyle, we might make a positive impact.
Don’t like it
I am writing to you with the hopes of soliciting all your help in fighting the proposed development of what is currently open space ” open space that is currently habitat for not only hundreds of elk, but also the endangered Canada lynx, and the peregrine falcon. I’m not forgetting about the hundreds of other species of plants and animals that are there as well.
We will start our journey on I-70, at the Minturn-Leadville Exit (Holy Cross Ranger District Office), going south on old U.S. Highway 24 towards the historic town of Minturn. When you leave Minturn, which has been promised big things by developer Bobby Ginn, watch for a little sign telling you that the summit of Battle Mountain is a few miles away.
This is what the local high school is named after, and Ginn, of The Ginn Company, wants to develop it, though you will never see the name Battle Mountain on any of his development plans.
The first right turn after seeing the Battle Mountain summit sign will be the Tigiwon Trail (FSR707). Driving in and seeing the old sluice pipe trestle and the reclaimed tailings ponds, you are now looking at proposed base mountain lodge development areas, including a gondola, to travel over the river, highway, and up to the main proposed ski run, housing and resort development area.
Now, they know that this gondola will travel over the nesting areas of the endangered falcon, and the proposed lodges will cut off elk migration corridors, but their response was, “We know the animals are currently here, but they will go somewhere else, we are not sure where. They have always done so in the past.”
They are probably referring to Alligator Alley in Florida, where they built thousands of homes on what had previously been wetlands habitat.
Many people have traveled up this Tigiwon Trail to summit the mountain. It winds up the side of Notch Mountain. At Notch’s summit at 13,237 feet you can see one of Colorado’s fourteeners that is notable for more than just a few people: Mount of the Holy Cross, at 14,005 feet.
Tigiwon is also a great access point for those wanting to summit a fourteener, though not the easiest for a first-timer to accomplish.
Tigiwon is said to mean “friendship” in the Ute language, and fourteeners are the tallest peaks in the contiguous 48 states. Colorado has 54 of these 14,000-foot peaks.
Now turn around. Looking to the north, you can see a bird’s eye view of Vail Resorts’ Back Bowls on Battle Mountain, as well as the Gore Range’s 13,000-foot saw-toothed peaks cutting the near horizon, and you might understand why in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Tigiwon Lodge so that even if the only way you could get to 10,000 feet was by four-wheel drive, you could see what they did, and even use the lodge as a wedding venue if a $75-a-day fee was not too much.
That is today’s fee. Back then it was probably free. Campgrounds on the surrounding mountainside make for great picnic, or weekend getaways, or even a family reunion with the lodge as a daily meeting, dining or other activity spot.
The evergreen-, aspen- and meadow-covered hillside on the facing and south sides of Battle Mountain, directly across the glacial valley from you, is where Mr. Ginn, and a handful of locals he has bought are wanting to put 700-plus homes, hotel, ski runs, lifts and golf course up on and around, which he reassuringly says that you will never see anything but a rooftop from the highway. What about across the valley at the Tigiwon Lodge, or standing on top of Notch Mountain, or Mount of the Holy Cross, Mr. Ginn? What will you be able to see there?
I have talked with people who have dealt with Mr. Ginn, or the aftermath of his development practices. Some say that years down the road they are still waiting for completion of his promised facilities, or they are now dealing with these animals that have been forced out of their natural habitats and migration corridors, becoming nuisances, or even deadly in some cases.
It results in missing pets, and animal-involved car accident fatalities are statistically increasing.
Now I am sure that most of you know that open spaces do not grow. They have only been shrinking since their designations back in the 1940s due to the careless actions of just a few.
All too often these problems are not heard about until it is too late, and the people who do care about this planet, and could do something about changing them, are kept in the dark.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope that some of you will take a minute to do what you can to help fight this ugliness. The few of us who have been voicing our seemingly unpopular opinions at the public hearings are not stopping this action.
I believe it will take big money to fight big money, and there are people in these mountains who know how this is done.