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Pictures paint false story

Don Rogers

The brochure, of course, is gorgeous. River, trees. Who wouldn’t want to save that?But here’s the real deal: Nothing in the pictures requires Eagle County to squander all its open-space fund and $2.2 million more from the general fund to save. The commissioners and would-be developer of the downtown Edwards gravel pit could preserve the postcard slice of the Eaton parcel all on their own.In other words, the Vail Valley Foundation is not asking contributors to ante up for the land in the pictures. The “once in a lifetime opportunity” is for the gravel pit abutting Edwards’ busiest corner and Highway 6. Surely there is land within Eagle County’s boundaries that would benefit more than that from a $12 million open-space investment on 72 acres of a population center. Officials and local advocates hope that the developer making plans for the 680-acre Edwards Overlook is just cooking up interest in a land swap with the Forest Service. Edwards leaders hope that investing in trails on a 400-acre peninsula of national forest between Singletree and Wildridge will prevent a trade of that buffer. They all just hope for the best with the 1,500-acre Scudder-Webster ranch up Lake Creek.Maybe hoping and the county’s regulatory powers will work with these parcels and many others outside the Edwards area. But then, the county commissioners could exercise their authority to shape Eaton so that what ought to be developed is developed, and a proper greenbelt runs along the river, too.More distressing is the possibility that saving the pit will lead to the prettier land next to Eaton having more development as a result, and in places no one likes.When you massage a brochure to provide a false sense of what’s at stake, that’s yet another clue this effort – however well-meaning – is also misguided. Vail, Colorado


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