Letter: No to Berlaimont | VailDaily.com

Letter: No to Berlaimont

The Berlaimont Luxury Estates project proposes a reduction and certain demise of the elk population in their winter habitat above Edwards. A two-lane road must be built for the people who own the trophy homes to reach their property which they will most probably occupy only a few weekends a year.  This road is proposed right through the middle of the National Forest wintering range to reach this project.

The elk which use this area for wintering grounds are struggling to survive, they are in starvation mode, as there is little food, and any disturbance causes them to burn valuable calories needed to survive just because they looked as you drove by them, or worse, ran your snow machine close to them. 

If the road is built, the projected use of the road will disturb the resting elk. When the road is plowed in the winter a berm of snow will be 7 to 8 feet high, thus cutting off any transit. Also the road will have a drop off on the low side. An elk jumping the guard rail jumps to its death.  One visitor can be tolerated but not multiple visitors every day, which the road would obviously attract. 

Undue stress on the cows can result in the cow aborting the calf and/or low calf weight. If the cow is stressed with little food, pregnancy success is down, also low weaning weights and leading to possible disease. The elk simply cannot move to another area. As Bill Andree of Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported, there is no place for the elk to move to — they just die.

Another aspect is without calf production, how can we maintain or grow a herd. Migration patterns would be lost as the calf learns from the mother where to go. According to scientist Brett Jesmer of the University of Wyoming, if a migration corridor is blocked or changed, or seasonal habitat no longer exists, it can take generations to establish a new path. If we lose calves, there will be no transmission of social knowledge.  Our elk seasonal ranges will be lost.

The agency  making the decision is the US Forest Service. The elk are at the mercy of the Forest Service and th decision to build a road for only a few folks, and their dogs. 

Knowing the facts, why do we want to do this to our dwindling wildlife?

We do not. We were granted a legacy, and in good conscience, need to protect them. If we want the elk to accompany us in the next generations then we must conserve now. Conscience declares we must protect the elk and the other wildlife in the area which we live. Otherwise there will be merely islands in a landscape which will become islands of extinction.

Corkie Ramey

Eagle