It is not the Forest Service’s job to bail out the Berlaimont developers (letter) | VailDaily.com

It is not the Forest Service’s job to bail out the Berlaimont developers (letter)

Bravo to Doss Malone for his recent letter about the folly of the proposed Berlaimont project ("Concerns about Berlaimont Estates," Friday, Nov. 23). It is shocking to me that our Forest Service would even be considering Berlaimont's request to allow 4.5 miles of pavement and year-round access in prime deer and elk winter range inside the National Forest. We do not need pavement and multi-million-dollar home development there.

The Forest Service's mission is to protect our wildlife and the scenic splendor of our National Forest land. You do not do that by paving it! The many people who use the Berry Creek and Power Line roads now for hunting, hiking, biking, walking their dogs and other recreation do not want to see it turned into pavement, with the huge year-round increases in traffic and human use it will bring.

More importantly, the migrating and wintering wildlife won't withstand yet more encroachment upon their shrinking winter range, as evidenced by the precipitous decline in deer and elk numbers throughout the valley. This is precisely why the Forest Service lands surrounding this inholding were designated as such in their most recent forest management plan.

Berlaimont made a terrible investment decision when they bought their land inside the National Forest for $9 million. It has only a dirt road to it now, and that road is closed in the winter. The land was traditionally used for ranching, which is why it was homesteaded in the 1930s.

As Mr. Malone's letter said, the parcel should continue to be used for ranching or some other light use, such as summer homes or cabins that are accessed by the existing dirt roads. That would be a reasonable use of Berlaimont's land — not the paved National Forest, winter access and 19 luxury homes Berlaimont is proposing. It is not the Forest Service's job to bail out the Berlaimont developers.

Howard Leavitt

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