Vail Valley Voices: There they go again
Vail, CO, Colorado
The Eagle Town Board has been on the move again lately. You would think after forcing the hand regarding Eagle River Station, they would take a step back from making devastating decisions.
Instead, they are now proposing a critical wildlife wintering and elk-calving area, Hernage Gulch, be opened for mountain biking.
The Eagle Ranch development had such a large environmental footprint that a few measures were enacted during the approval phase to try and mitigate the negative impact. As quoted in section 6.04 of town regulations “During the Eagle Ranch development process, it was mutually agreed upon by the developers, the town of Eagle, Colorado Division of Wildlife and town residents that the Hernage Gulch area should be managed to retain its natural and pristine condition. The area contains valuable and diverse wildlife habitat, in a relatively untrammeled condition. Currently, the area is being managed to protect and preserve these significant features.”
So why is the Town Board now trying to rewrite the rules? How is their opinion more valuable than that of the Division of Wildlife and concerned sportsmen? Did you know that the current mule deer numbers south of Eagle are only at 50 percent of state objectives? Most of the decline started due to development of critical winter range.
The town and police departments already refuse to enforce the current laws regarding road closures, and open space violations, often claiming “it is not our jurisdiction.” The seasonal road closure at the Bluffs subdivision is not enforced, and section 3.04 of the regulations, which states “bicycle users must stay on designated routes and not travel off them, or create any new or additional roads or trails,” is also being ignored.
Nobody is trying to deny a cyclist’s right to enjoy public lands, but there has to be limitations. Perhaps the town of Eagle should take a trip to the trails near Fruita and Loma, and see how it is regulated. There are designated trail heads, parking areas, rest rooms, and all trails are clearly marked with signs, and any spur trails are closed.
First Eagle River Station, now Hernage Gulch, and those of us that have been paying attention know what is next. Perhaps anyone that really loves this area should question why the Town Board is now proposing approval of the Haymeadow project which will once again ‘doze over hundreds of acres of wildlife wintering area, will double the size of Eagle by adding 900+ homes, double the traffic flow through Eagle, and drastically reduce home values. I believe the Town Board thinks they live in Denver.
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