Vail Daily letter: No more wilderness! |

Vail Daily letter: No more wilderness!

Stephanie Ratkowski
Vail, CO, Colorado

The leftists are at it again. Because this Congress is so far left and not opposed to taking your rights away, we have a group of environmentalists (Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign) trying to change the designation of public land (over 200,000 acres in just Eagle County) to wilderness. What this means to you is that no motorized or mechanized equipment can be used in these areas. They have been doing this quietly because they did not want any opposition to their plan.

A lot of these areas are very popular and some not so popular but still used by pedal bikers, Jeeps, all-terrain-vehicles and snowmobiles. These areas could already have existing roads in them that are used by all recreation types. If this designation happens, you will no longer be able to use these roads to access these areas.

HAATS (High Altitude Army Aviation Training Site) could adversely be affected by this. HAATS is a training center where pilots from the U.S. and around the world come to train before they are sent to war. Many of the pilots go right from HAATS to Afghanistan. If these areas are designated wilderness, HAATS will have to go through a lot of red tape to get special use permits, which could be denied.

I spend a lot of time enjoying the wonderful areas of Eagle County, and I believe we can and are already keeping these areas beautiful for future generations to also enjoy. We do not have to take away more of our freedoms to do this.

All citizens who care about enjoying our forests should be infuriated by this proposal. Please contact the county commissioners, congressmen and senators and let them know you want to be able to use the land like you have been for generations.

Stephanie Ratkowski


Editor’s note: HAATS use of the public lands specifically takes precedence and would not be adversely affected by the legislation under consideration. Also, these areas are under consideration in part because of their scarcity of roads. Finally, Hidden Gems is among the most publicized initiatives around, as evidenced in part by weekly articles this past summer in the Vail Daily.

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