Vail Daily letter: Gems bid hardly ‘secretive’ |

Vail Daily letter: Gems bid hardly ‘secretive’

Julie McCahan
Vail, CO, Colorado

Recently a letter was published regarding the Hidden Gems proposal, characterizing the process as secretive. The facts demonstrate that Hidden Gems proposal has been a collaborative process done in the open.

Every effort was made to incorporate input from a variety of groups here in Eagle County. For example:

n This is a citizen’s proposal collaboratively organized by well-established local and state environmental groups –Wilderness Workshop, established in 1964; Colorado Environmental Coalition, established in 1965; Colorado Mountain Club, established 1906; and the Rocky Mountain regional chapter of The Wilderness Society, established 1936.

n The outreach has been exceptional and the results have created a stronger, better proposal. More than 109,000 acres have been removed from the Summit County and Eagle County portions of Hidden Gems as a result of extensive outreach to all stakeholders. Everyone has had a voice and been heard.

n These are the last wild places left and are a gift to the future, not a grab from the present. In fact, in Eagle Count none of the current mountain bike or motorcycle trails would be closed. Hidden Gems has worked tirelessly to accommodate everyone while still protecting these last best places.

n You can check the maps and the adjustments and see for yourself. The maps are available at Vail and Eagle County libraries and Colorado Mountain College during regular business hours.

n Thank you to our forward-thinking county commissioners, who recently sent a letter to Rep. Jared Polis announcing their support for the majority of the Eagle County Gems (nine areas) and conditional support with a bit more boundary work for six additional areas. Clearly, they have given this a lot of consideration — listening (and reading letters) from their constituents. Our hats are off to the county commissioners for understanding that this is important to our community’s future.

Julie McCahan

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