We oppose paved road in the forest | VailDaily.com

We oppose paved road in the forest

Ellie Caryl

The following comments do not imply that we endorse the road proposal; in fact we strongly oppose the new road for the following reasons:n This area, known to mountain bikers as the Berry Creek Race Loop is virtually the only technical early and late season riding available to the mountain biking user group in the Vail-Edwards corridor. The next closest loop single-track, is 20 miles west of Edwards, on BLM land, and is known as the Eagle Race Loop. Putting a road through the Berry Creek Race Loop area will greatly decrease the challenge and enjoyment of this loop trail which contains a technical climb and descent.n Since there are no wildlife closures on the Berry Creek Race Loop area, it offers technical riding in the early and late seasons. Since the majority of the technical biking terrain in the Vail-Edwards area has wildlife closures until June 15, having this area available may mitigate the problem of mountain bikers/runners/ORV enthusiasts, etc., violating the wildlife closures in search of technical terrain in the early and late season.n One of the many reasons this area is so popular with mountain bikers, is that it is a true “loop” trail, meaning bikers can repeat the challenges on a relatively short course. Paving this road will eliminate this character of the Berry Creek Race Loop, creating yet another “climb a paved/improved dirt road and descend” experience, similar to the biking experiences on ski mountains. Paving this road will eliminate one of the few unique experiences where bikers have the chance to be challenged both up and downhill in the Vail-Edwards corridor.n We strongly oppose the proposed action, which calls for the closing and elimination of FS 780 1-C, which is critical to this loop trail. FS 780 1-C is critical to the loop characteristics, which make this trail challenging and fun.n Lastly, addressing our view against this road, this area is again unique in the fact that bikers, runners, equestrians, motorcyclists, and other off-road vehicles universally share it. Paving this road will remove yet another area where shared use near a neighborhood is available.However, if the Forest Service grants an easement through public lands, which we strongly oppose, we feel that the following should be addressed:n Red Canyon Road, which is already an improved road in existence, appears to be a much better alternative than the Berry Creek option. The Red Canyon area would be a somewhat similar development to the proposed development in charter: both are large acreage developments, perhaps second homes, and are gated communities. Creating a paved road through a high-use recreation area, when an alternative exists is frankly wrong from our perspective. Allowing this road to be built through a critical early and late season recreation area could set a dangerous precedent, which we strongly oppose.n We also note that this area was reviewed as perhaps needing seasonal wildlife closure in the USFS Travel Management option D. Ironically, now a paved road is being considered through this area.n The visual impacts to this area would be significant. We reference the Spraddle Creek Development north of Vail as evidence of high visual impacts to our hillsides.n The USFS should maintain existing trails in the area of the road in their current condition or improve the system, improvements to be determined by the various user groups losing the enjoyment of this area.n Create two trailheads along the road, with parking (including room for a horse trailer) and signage at access points to existing trails locations to be determined by the various user groups losing the enjoyment of the area. One trailhead should be established near the Berry Creek neighborhood to reduce vehicle traffic, and one trailhead should be established within the new development to allow uninterrupted access through and above the development.n Control the volume of road traffic by appropriate signage at the trailhead, informing the user groups of the opportunities for recreation in the area by simply parking at the Berry Creek Neighborhood Trailhead.n Allow public access along the entire length of road, with appropriate signage for respecting the private land.n The developer should make a financial contribution to the Travel Management Planning effort for Red & White Mountain area scheduled to commence this year. The developer should make a financial contribution to maintaining the existing trails, and mitigating the removal of the technical climb by funding a single-track climb either adjacent to the road. In addition, we propose this single-track climb on a dirt trail, should remain, as close to the character of the current ascent, in that, it should never cross a paved road.ECO Trails:Backcountry Sub-Committee:John Bailey, Robert “Buff” Arnold, Mike Toughill, Leslie Kehmeier, Bob Kippola,Pete Lombardi, Paul Gotthelf, Kent Rose, Janet HillECO Trails Representative: Ellie CarylCosts here too richIt was with much interest that I read the letters by Otto Wiest and Steve Michonski in the last week or so regarding affordable housing, town vs. resort, housing and land taxes – and it all seemed to me that it all reverts back to not a question of affordable housing and renting but more so a question of affordable living as a whole here in the Vail Valley.As part of a newly married couple who now call Eagle County home, it is with much chagrin that the real problems of this great place seem to be overtaken by bubbles on golf courses (please guys, no more letters) and not cutting to the chase of trying to make the valley a more affordable place for all to live in.I understand that the second-home owner is a big part of the valley and very important to the tourism industry of Vail, but we are talking of the very affluent few who can quite easily absorb inflated prices and taxes as the real full-time resident here is left to wear the brunt of these.We have all these affordable housing programs, first home buyers schemes and bank assisted mortgages, which is fantastic. But if we are all being bled through nose when we buy our groceries, gas, eat out on the rare occasion and through pretty low wages that most, if not all, the major employers pay, then you are setting up a situation where people aren’t saving money, also due in part once again tom another huge expense, exorbitant rent prices. For people to buy a property, they need to, one, have a deposit. You cannot have a deposit without saving money. You cannot save money if you have next to no discretionary income. Hence the problem.The Vail Valley is turning into a mini-Third World country where the rich get richer and the people that really keep this valley going – your bank tellers, landscapers, waiters and waitresses, ski and snowboard instructors – the people we all, including myself, take for granted, are left to eke out a life. It seems to me to be basic economics that wages need to be adjusted to the cost of the living. This is a basic concept toward a healthy economy. Do you think that it happens here? Not a chance.The town, county, business owners, landlords and especially all employers need to get together to help the local economy here. In the four years I have been here the number of businesses to close has been astronomical. When small businesses are closing, this is a tell-tale sign something is not so rosy in our “Garden of Eden.” Let’s see if we can get this valley prospering again, instead of focusing on cures for the minor symptoms and not the cures for the major diseases.The focus seems to be on the second-home owner, or trying to get more of them into the valley, as can be seen particularly in the advertising of many restaurants, merchants and in the majority of the real estates in Eagle County. I am all for added investment into the county, but let’s wake up and ensure the future of the valley is taken care of, and this future remains in the hands of the year-round local. With prices and taxes rising, sky rocketing cost of living and pretty stagnant wages, there will be no one left to run the valley, as no locals will be able to afford to live here.Ben BoydBubble’s neededOn behalf of the over 80 players who participated in the weekly Wednesday night hockey drop-in games at Dobson Arena during the 2001-02 hockey season, I would like to thank the entire staff at Dobson Arena for their hard work and effort in producing our best season ever! From July 18, 2001, to April 24, 2002, we never missed a single Wednesday night, which is a record since I’ve been organizing hockey in Vail.There’s no doubt that Dobson Arena is the best skating facility in any ski resort town in the world. There’s also no doubt that the Bubble is the finest bubble in the world, with the fastest, hardest ice surface anywhere. Would we expect anything less in Vail?In the summer of 2001 improvements were made to Dobson Arena. These included very comfortable expanded locker rooms and showers, a new refrigeration system, a new conference room, new boards, new glass and other required improvements. The upgrade was not only required to keep the facility running, but also was required to keep Dobson Arena competitive in attracting professional hockey teams, skaters, concerts and other events in the future.With the growing popularity of skating and hockey, and the continuing lack of another sheet of ice, the Bubble is a necessity for Vail to meet the demands of all skaters, and allow Dobson Ice Arena to continue to host non-skating events (which produce a lot more revenue than ice time) without disrupting skating and hockey schedules.At least three new successful programs began this past season, all because of the Bubble: Battle Mountain Hockey-second in the state, the Twin Peaks female hockey club, and a very popular all-levels, all-ages women’s drop-in hockey on Wednesdays.If you are a skater or a hockey player, age 3 or 83, boy or girl, mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, local or guest, amateur or pro (or ex-pro), all you want is the opportunity to participate in a skating or hockey program. The facilities of Dobson Arena and the Bubble together provide this opportunity to the entire skating community.Many thanks to Jim Heber, manager, and staff members Scott Mastaglio, Amy Reffkin, Dennis Jerger, Rick Ping, Duncan Allen, Doug Allen, Dave Cech, and Greg Ham. These people never get the credit they deserve for making Dobson Arena and the Bubble No. 1. It’s been a pleasure working with you.Pete KyleVail

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