Vail Daily letter: Protect the Gems |

Vail Daily letter: Protect the Gems

Paul Chapman
Vail, CO, Colorao

I urge you to support the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal to protect portions of our as-yet-untouched Bureau of Land Management lands. The greatest single reason my family and I chose to come to the Eagle County area was, and remains, the beauty of our local federal lands, most importantly those designated, or potentially so, as wilderness areas.

Wilderness-designated areas of U.S. Forest Service and BLM land are of critical importance both to wildlife habitat and for intelligent human usage of our environment.

However, current wilderness areas are, to a large extent, in only higher elevations. Extending the wilderness designation to lower elevations is important for improved wildlife habitat, as well as limiting destruction of the natural environment whether by noise or physical abuse generally caused by motorized vehicles.

And, in Eagle County, as far as I can tell, there are no mineral extraction or forestry issues which conflict with the Hidden Gems proposal to extend the wilderness areas.

The Hidden Gems proposal has been carefully researched to delineate the boundaries of areas desired to be protected by the wilderness designation and to not include certain areas of greatest interest to the motorized and mechanized vehicle hobbyists.

Over 100,000 acres that would otherwise be eligible for the program have been excluded by the planners in order to keep those areas open for other interests. Certain already existing roads also will be allowed by the proposal for access to private lands, commercial and ranching usage and so forth.

For these reasons, I encourage support of the Hidden Gems proposal to protect our lands. To learn more, please visit

Paul Chapman


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