Letter: Berlaimont is bad for recreation, wildlife | VailDaily.com

Letter: Berlaimont is bad for recreation, wildlife

I attended the Buck Berlaimont town hall meeting on March 16. The Berlaimont housing project is proposing 19 luxury homes on 35-acre or larger parcels, and a 4.5-mile two-lane paved road on the existing Berry Creek Road in Edwards. The informative meeting had a distinguished panel including state Sen. Kerry Donovan. I couldn’t help but wonder why there was a conspicuous absence of any representative from the US Forest Service in attendance.              

We who live at “ground zero” of the proposed road are not in support of this project, which will have a significant negative impact on the homes of every resident who lives here. More importantly, this project will negatively affect every outdoor enthusiast in the county. Having lived here for over a dozen years I can tell you from first-hand experience that the Berry Creek Road is used by many Eagle County residents every day — rain, snow, or shine. It is the hub of outdoor recreation here in Edwards.

Hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers and dirt bikers use it daily. Patients at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center stroll the road for much-needed peace and relaxation while undergoing treatment, and the students from the local schools use it year round for field trips to study local ecosystems. Community mountain bike races are held here regularly in the summer.  The high school cross-country teams train and compete here.           

In addition to the negative ways that this development will impact the community, this area is also prime deer and elk winter range. This road will further impact our already rapidly dwindling deer and elk population. The proposed road would sever an important migration route for this diminishing deer herd, not to mention put undue stress on all of the other varieties of plant life and wildlife that call this area home.             

I can’t help but ask myself why the rights of a wealthy developer supersede the rights of thousands of local residents and a fragile ecosystem that cannot protect itself? I am anxious to understand how the Forest Service could possibly have come to the conclusion that a two-lane nearly 30-foot wide paved road through a well-used, and well-loved recreation area that is in the center of a critical deer and elk winter range is an acceptable and responsible use of national forest land. The plan to develop a grandiose subdivision of luxury 35-acre ranchettes on a property that is surrounded on all four sides by national forest lands is unreasonable and sets a very dangerous precedent.

If the current road, as it is, does not provide adequate access for the proposed project, then it is time for the developer to consider another alternative for the property.      

If you are someone who supports the outdoor recreational opportunities here in Edwards, or if you are someone who wants to protect our vanishing wildlife, I urge you to reach out to the US Forest Service, and your county commissioners opposing this project. If we work together and act now we can make a difference before it is too late.                             

Beth Kuntz

Edwards