Letter: Forest Service’s reasoning makes no sense
Vail Daily, June 30, 2019 — EagleVail wants to build a $5.2 million, 11,250-foot long lift to connect EagleVail and Beaver Creek. The U.S. Forest Service said no! The Forest Service would not allow a new connection between two existing areas. Aaron Mayville of the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District cited the fact that “the entire hillside above EagleVail is an ‘elk refuge’ of sorts.” The Forest Service and the Division of Wildlife had set the area aside to protect wildlife (mainly the elk herd.) Mayville cited a larger conversation in the community about dwindling wildlife. The Everkrisp bike trail in the same area is closed during the winter and spring because the biggest wildlife concern in that area is winter range.
Vail Daily, March 8, 2018 — Meanwhile, the owners of Berlaimont Estates, a proposed 680-acre parcel of private property, an inholding, surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands, located north of Edwards and west of the Berry Creek drainage want the U.S. Forest Service to approve a new 32-foot-wide, two-lane paved road across 4.2 miles of public lands to facilitate development of 19 new mansions on 35 acre plots. Here the Forest Service is considering allowing a connection to an area that has not yet been developed, even though it is in an area that was designated in a 2002 Forest Service Plan as an area of critical winter range for deer and elk.
For this project, Mayville said the Forest Service compiled an extensive study of the Berlaimont proposal. “That’s when we have to deal with words like ‘adequate,’ ‘similar’ and ‘reasonable.'” “I feel really good about the level of work we have dedicated to this project for the past decade.”
As part of that process, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, with the assistance of the agency’s general counsel, made the determination that the 19-unit Berlaimont plan was “reasonable.”
Why deny one because of wildlife concerns and allow the other saying it is “reasonable” and ignore wildlife concerns? Say no to both!