Letter: Draw the line on Berlaimont | VailDaily.com

Letter: Draw the line on Berlaimont

People come to this beautiful mountain community for skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. That makes the preservation of this outdoor paradise our No. 1 priority. Our mountains are limited by landscape, access to water and the vast stretches of public land that make this place so special.

Since the 1930s, access to the inholding that is now referred to as Berlaimont has been reasonable, just as has access to Fulford and Piney River Ranch. Both Fulford and Piney River Ranch are accessible by dirt roads in the summer and fall, and snowmobiles in the winter. They have homes and cabins and owners access them at will. Now we are suddenly faced with an outside investor who wants to develop the Berlaimont inholding not for his own use but as a way to rake in millions on nearly 20 mansions in a gated community.

This developer wants to pave four miles of elk breeding ground on our public land that under today’s restrictions keeps hikers and bikers out during calving season. That four-mile road will be used for the construction of those mansions as well as truck traffic to haul water to residents. The developers plan to pay the $15 million to build the road, but we get the privilege of maintaining it year-round so during the ski season any residents who happen to be there will have their truck of water available. It is estimated that there will be over 200 trips a day on the new road, right through the middle of the calving ground of the dwindling elk herd in that area.

We need to decide what our priorities are. Do we continue to let our public land and our protected wildlife be decimated for another billionaire enclave? This road is one too many! We have to draw the line at what this fragile ecosystem can tolerate and what this place is, a part-time compound for the rich or a home to people and wildlife.

In the Vail Daily on March 19 I counted homes for sale. In the $1 to $5 million range, there were 74 properties, mostly huge single-family homes. In the $5 million plus range, there were 21 homes. Do we really need more? And for the record, in the under $500,000 range were seven properties and only a couple of them were single family residences.

Our space is limited and our wildlife is limited. We need to be good stewards of the land and animals. Berlaimont is nothing but the destruction of the very thing we value most. Please people, speak out. If we stand together and speak with one voice we can be heard. Contact the Eagle county commissioners at 970-328-8605, eagleadmin@eaglecounty.us and tell them you oppose this project. Contact the Wilderness Workshop in Carbondale and ask how you can help. And contact the US Forest Service at 201 14th Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20024 or at (800) 832-1355 (voice), or online at http://www.fs.fed.us/about-agency/contact-us/national-programs-offices and urge them to make the right decision.

Cathy Blaser

Gypsum