Letter: Paving paradise for an asphalt road
Recently the U.S. Forest Service approved a paved road easement on public land for Berlaiment Estates, a 680-acre inholding surrounded by Forest Service property to make access easier for a development of 19 homes, each on a minimum of 35 acres. If built this plan should be viewed as one of a “tragedy of the commons”.
Opposition comments to the road paving and development often cite harm to wildlife habitats and disruption to public recreational use. Perhaps at least as important is the untenable requirement to truck water daily as this location has no water infrastructure coupled with a greater risk for a catastrophic wildfire given the substantial increase of human activity from an exclusive few. There may be times when it is wise for private property rights to be subject to a collective re-think, regardless, and perhaps especially, if the land is owned by a “champion” of means.
Earth Day and this “Climate Action Week” is top of mind with a focus on sustainability and action. Now may be the time for the owners to consider an alternate use for the land such as creating a mini-renewable energy farm. I favor they build a few affordable, income-producing, publicly accessible huts on the property to add to the inventory of the huts of the 10th Mountain Hut Association inventory. By building a limited number of rentable huts, this place can be a retreat for year-round outdoor enthusiasts and could be built to honor those locals and others who we have lost in tragic winter accidents. Emily Franciose was one of those locals, as were Adam Palmer and Taft Conlin.