Letter: Don’t bend the rules for Berlaimont developers
The developer of Berlaimont Estates wants to build 19 luxury homes and is asking the Forest Service to approve a damaging 26-foot-wide paved road across 4.5 miles of public land that currently provides habitat for sensitive and dwindling wildlife. The developers bought the land with seasonal dirt road access across the forest. Regulations require only adequate access for reasonable use and enjoyment.
This project would set a bad and lasting precedent. The proposed access road cuts through critical winter range for elk and the secon- largest deer herd in the state. Protections for wildlife in the current Forest Plan would be abandoned to approve the road and allow year-round access. Paving, road cuts, retaining walls and 200-plus vehicle trips per day across critical wildlife habitat will not minimize impacts as required by Forest Service rules.
Any new roads should be built on Berlaimont’s own land. Not our national forest. The existing winter closure of this area to motorized use is critical to the health of deer and elk herds that have been in steep decline. Furthermore, they may have to truck in their water — 10,000-gallon storage tanks per home, plus a 32-million gallon pond. I owned a cabin on Forest Service land for 29 years. I abided by the rules. The Forest Service did not bend the rules to accommodate my needs. Therefore I am requesting the denial of this damaging road.