Vail Daily letter: Good reason for Eagle’s wildlife regs
Vail, CO, Colorado
Town of Eagle Board and open space department: Most living in this community love and support wildlife. We may not agree on how this is best accomplished, but most are definitely fans of taking care of the animals.
It saddened me to see the article in the paper recently about a possible reconsideration of seasonal closures for some of the trails in the Eagle Ranch area.
Back in 1998-99 there was a lot of discussion around the impacts that Eagle Ranch development could have on the wildlife that call that area home in the wintering months. As a way to preserve these animals, the developer, Colorado Division of Wildlife, town of Eagle and community agreed to a wonderful solution that allowed development and the best protection that could be offered to our wildlife of seasonal closures. Significant time and money was spent to enhance these areas of refuge, especially for the wintering herds.
If you include the golf course trails, Eagle Ranch currently has approximately 20 miles of asphalt trails and dirt-gravel trails that are open to the public during the winter months. For any class of athlete, 20 miles near your home along with the additional trail areas throughout the county (Boneyard, Bellyache, pool-ice rink) offer plenty of training opportunities.
Asking for additional trails with the amount currently available seems to indicate that some people are much more concerned with themselves than our community and our wildlife.
I don’t know the root of the requests, but unless these people are educated and experienced in wildlife management, their opinions on impact to the wildlife should not even be considered.
The Division of Wildlife was present at the meeting and clearly indicated that removing the seasonal closures to the trail system would result in negative wildlife impact. What more do we need to hear and who do we need to hear it from?
I don’t understand why our Town Board would even consider making changes to the current seasonal closures that were part of the agreement with Eagle Ranch development and made available to all home owners in the Eagle Ranch area who have purchased property since 1999.
Why would we want to set a precedence of being a town that doesn’t keep its word with the state Division of Wildlife or federual Bureau of Land Management? If we were to make an amendment to the agreement, would it be noted that the Division of Wildlife has already provided testimony that this “amendment” was not supported by the division?
How would we feel if the Division of Wildlife decided that the deer and elk populations in our local areas needed further protection and they decided to put a strict limit on tags in our areas. The loss of income from hunters to our area would be significant — much more significant that the unhappiness of a few residents that want to be able to run, ski or showshoe through our current herds because they don’t think it bothers the wildlife or because they are elite athletes who can’t make it to a trail that is not right outside their door.
I can understand this topic being a point of discussion by our elected officials if a need was presented. However, it doesn’t sound like there is a real need. I do sense a strong desire by some residents to have their own special playground that allows them to run amongst the wildlife.
But unless the Division of Wildlife says that impacts would not be negative to the wildlife, the discussion should end and our town should not only maintain the quality of life that wildlife help bring, but also be recognized as a town with integrity that stands on their word.
The most unbelievable thing about the article was a quote from someone that wants the trails open, stating that her group “respects the seasonal closure laws, but often sees other people who ignore the rules.”
Is this a reason to remove the closures? If others disobey a law, is that a reason to remove the law?
I urge our Town Board to do the right thing on this matter and respectfully decline the request without further discussion. We have thousands of acres throughout our county for training and recreating that will not negatively impact wildlife.
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