Vail Daily letter: Forest roads threatened
Vail, CO Colorado
Many countries around the world are experiencing revolts and riots due to tyrants and dictatorships and governments that do not listen to their people, as in London.
Here in the U.S., the people seldom get violent due to policies the government institutes. However, when we the people feel we are not being treated fairly, there is quite often a grassroots revolt. Revolt may be too strong a word, but civil disobedience is common.
Here in Happy Valley, things are mostly good,but I believe we are facing a real threat to our freedoms and rights to reasonable use of our public lands.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to greatly reduce the public’s legal ability to access and use our nearby national forest. It seems the Forest Service is anti-recreation concerning the lands they manage, using resource damage and safety as the reasons for closing and limiting uses on our beloved forest.
Currently there are many roads and trails that have been used and maintained by a variety of recreationalists. The Forest Service wants to stop this use and have open for use a small percentage of the roads and trails that now exist.
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These non-official roads and trails are not a burden for the Forest Service as they are maintained by the users and they will not disappear if they are closed and not used. It seems that breaking a blade of grass or kicking up mud or dusts is just not right. However, the current logging in our area is doing extreme resource damage and the safety of the public is in question on a daily basis.
The way things have been, users such as hikers, bikers, hunters and horses have used these areas with very little overall impact. Now, the Forest Service wants to stop most of this, and I doubt the people will be happy or will abide by these new rules.
This area’s economy revolves around recreation, and to severely limit this will have far-reaching effects. Just the loss of the many hunters who come to our area will be devastating, many say we will lose at least half of our out-of-state hunters within five years due to these new restrictions. We don’t want new roads or trails, but just to use the ones that are there.
If you care about recreation and want to find out what is happening, check with the Forest Service and hear the bad news. As a community we must get educated and stand up for our rights.