Vail Daily letter: Wrong side of Gems |

Vail Daily letter: Wrong side of Gems

Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

I’m glad to see county commissioner candidate Clauda Alexander flying her colors in regard to wilderness. I question, however, if her flag is already at half mast?

It’s something like gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis supporting an Arizona racial profiling law for Colorado. He seems to have forgotten that people of Spanish ancestry preceded Anglos into Colorado and are a significant part of the population now. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

In regard to wilderness, I can assure you as a 48-year resident of Eagle County, and a two-time commissioner candidate, that wilderness support is grassroots, coming from the majority of residents living here in Eagle County.

We are happy to have advocacy groups helping us, but no one is telling us what to think. First-hand experience is the determining factor.

Deep tire tracks, garbage, noise, disturbed wildlife, a mining culture that was able to buy favors from the Bush administration to rape the land and the sea and the mess that is evident across the nation from the Colorado Front Range to the Gulf of Mexico are what we are looking at.

Wilderness is not an economic detractor. It is one of the primary reasons people move to Colorado – to enjoy our relatively unspoiled environments.

This has been a major driving force in the home construction industry.

Ms. Alexander is right that these federal lands belong to all the people of the United States. No one denies this. Those of us who live here are the custodians, the first ones to see abuses and try to do something about them.

In regard to “regulations,” wilderness lands are the least managed of the federal lands, the only enforcement being to keep motorized vehicles out.

Almost no money is spent on roads, campgrounds and other facilities that have to be maintained on the other federal lands.

No one, however, is talking about eliminating these existing and popular facilities, popular in large part because they are foot and horse traffic gateways into wilderness.

The only commercial activities I know about going on in the Hidden Gems lands are livestock grazing, hunting, fishing and military helicopter fly-overs, and these uses are being accommodated in the Hidden Gems proposal.

Cattle and sheep have been grazing on wilderness lands for several decades. It is not restricted, but the cattlemen manage for the long range health of the land, not something I see the dirt bikers doing.

I am not sure why Ms. Alexander is listing wilderness movements in other states, but I’m certainly glad to see them. It demonstrates America’s thirst for unspoiled wildlands.

Roger Brown, Gypsum

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