Vail Daily letter: Public shaping Gems
Vail, CO, Colorado
As part of continuing outreach to citizens to help everyone understand what the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal is, the campaign has placed a set of revised maps in the Vail and Eagle libraries and at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.
These will be available for in-house viewing during regular business hours. There are feedback forms there, too, and we would like your specific feedback. Or you may visit http://www.whiteriverwild.org to learn more and view the maps. We think that many people will be impressed by what they find in the revised maps.
We have reached out to stakeholders, from ranchers to local governments, fire chiefs and hunters, hikers and motorized users of the land, explaining the intent and practicalities of this proposal, receiving specific input and, whenever possible, making compromises based on this input.
We even sent snowmobilers out to GPS favorite routes and then made boundary adjustments accordingly.
The result of this extensive outreach is that we have removed more than 109,000 acres from the proposal – for town concerns, recreational compromises, fire mitigation, water boards and more.
Mountain bikers will find that zero mountain bike trails in Eagle County will be affected (based on the new U.S. Forest Service travel-management plan). The same goes for motorcycle enthusiasts. Less than 15 miles of roads would be closed, many of those seasonal (also based on the new travel plan).
The intent of the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal is to protect the last roadless wildlands we have left in and around our mountain valleys so that future generations can experience the solitude and intact ecosystems, clean water, primal forests and wildlife that we enjoy today.
If we don’t protect them, we – humanity – will overrun them with mining, logging, road building and motorized recreational use. Protecting does not mean prohibiting people and recreation; it does mean prohibiting machines. Wilderness is open to everyone!
The Eagle County and Summit County portions of the Hidden Gems proposal have been offered to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis for his consideration and a possible introduction of a wilderness bill to Congress. The congressman is taking feedback, and I am also available to sit down with groups and individuals, clarify any questions or misunderstandings, hear support and concerns.
I invite you to learn more about the proposal, form an educated opinion and offer specific input.
Check out the maps at the Vail and Eagle libraries and at CMC in Edwards during normal operating hours. If you have questions or would like a personal presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at susiek@
Eagle County coordinator, Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign