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Vail Daily letter: Protect those hidden gems I’d

Susan Kaemmerlen
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

like to thank the Vail Daily for its excellent coverage of the Hidden Gems hikes sponsored by the Hidden Gems wilderness gampaign. During the past two weeks, I was able to join in two wonderful hikes in the Hidden Gems series, one to Castle Peak and the other to the Squaw-West Lake Creek area in Edwards, and I plan to participate in more during the coming weeks.

The purpose of these hikes is to acquaint people with areas in the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal that will significantly add to existing wilderness on the White River National Forest and establish some new wilderness areas on BLM lands — like Castle Peak and Bull Gulch. Wilderness is the best form of protection we can place on federal lands that are still roadless and undeveloped.

It is the goal of the Hidden Gems campaign that these beautiful areas be designated as “wilderness” in the near future so that they will not be spoiled by future development, motorized vehicles, pollution,and so forth.



The areas visited on these hikes are critical “mid-elevation” areas, whereas current wilderness areas are generally higher, often rocky and icy.

These mid-elevation areas are home to many endangered wild animals (e.g, the lynx).



They serve as important migration corridors and, of course, are accessible to us humans for our recreational enjoyment, such as hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, as well as for ranchers to continue grazing their cattle and sheep.

During the past five years, tremendous development has taken place in Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties, and it is clear to me that if our rapid development is putting extreme pressure on what we all came here for — the incredible beauty of the mountains, clean air and water, renewal through nature, magnificent vistas.

That is why it is so important to protect these pristine areas while they still exist. Please go to http://www.WhiteRiverWild.org and read more about the effort being made to protect these special areas highlighted on the “Hidden Gems” hikes.



Future hikes are listed on the Web site. Hikes are free and led by knowledgeable people.

Let’s all help to preserve and protect our wilderness!

Susan Kaemmerlen

Vail


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