Vail Daily letter: Preserve our wild lands
Vail, CO Colorado
To the Eagle County Commission-ers: My husband and I have just had the privilege of spending two long fall days in the wilderness. We urge you to support the preservation of the Hid-den Gems as the value of wild land is beyond measure. During our long day hikes deep into the mountains, we encountered magnificent terrain and abundant wildlife, but these creatures need room, and humans are increas-ing pressure. We need to ensure that civilization and industry do not encroach into these last remaining, uniquely American wild places.
Wilderness has incredible aesthet-ic and spiritual value. The rugged, stark terrain of the high county and the vibrant forests below represent the strength and power of the human spirit. Preserving wild lands in Col-orado, the West, and throughout the world should be high priority because wilderness has value on many levels.
Wilderness provides economic val-ue. The only person we encountered was a hunter from Pennsylvania. Hunters are just one group of people that come seeking our wilderness for recreation. Tourists and hunters bring valuable life to our economy. Studies show that towns near wilderness have a healthier economy than similar towns not adjacent to wilderness. And as more of our precious wild lands dis-appear, the areas we save will add even more value to our economy.
Just as humans need room, wild game needs room to thrive. Wilder-ness provides critical habitat for wildlife, corridors for their free move-ment, and places to mate and have their young. We encountered many creatures this weekend – a majestic mountain goat, a lone black bear, and a golden eagle being pursued by a pesky falcon. Countless small mam-mals left their tracks in the fresh snow. Mule deer froze in the shadows hop-ing we wouldn’t see them. Such wild places are vital and deserve lasting protection. Risking their loss, destruc-tion or development is risking too much.
The earth needs room to be the earth. We need lands lightly trodden by man. Places where water springs from the depths out of the rock and fish swim in clear streams have value. Protection to the greatest extent possi-ble for the wild lands under consider-ation will benefit many people today as well as future generations.
I realize that there can be conflicts over the use of federal lands, but please consider preservation of wilderness to be the highest use of land. Preserving wilderness does not take away any person’s right to use it. It only restricts machines and the destruction to habitat, wildlife and solace they bring. Its uses are many and its value cannot be overestimated. The Hidden Gems help preserve the integrity of a national treasure, provid-ing and ensuring future economic prosperity.
– Kate Cocchiarella