Letter: Preserving the bighorn sheep
Having been an outspoken critic of the housing project in East Vail on the bighorn sheep habitat, I would like to thank the Vail Town ouncil (and Kim Langmaid in particular) for being united in opening negotiations with Vail Resorts and the developer in looking for alternative locations for this type of development. I sincerely hope that there are locations that are less dangerous for the potential residents and motorists and that are either walking-friendly or bus-friendly — neither of which this proposed development really provided for the up to 450 people who might have lived there.
The people of Vail spoke at the ballot box in November, and I am very grateful that, at last, the council listened to the community. The council members represent voters, not corporations. We understand that affordable housing and employee housing is important, but it still boggles my mind that it took two years for the penny to drop that we also have an enormous obligation to preserve our natural habitat for the species who predated all of us.
One of the two ways that species become endangered — according to National Geographic — is human encroachment onto their habitat. I have also asked the obvious question: Why we don’t have a valley-wide plan for building which takes into account wildlife migration, breeding and summer and winter habitats? No one seems to have an answer. Why not? A huge new building project is being proposed for Minturn — is there not a way of creating a masterplan for the valley which can benefit people looking to live/work/buy in this valley and yet also ensure that wildlife protection is a premium. Why is there not a Planning and Environmental Committee for the Vail Valley but with some real input from Colorado Parks and Wildlife? Just a suggestion.
Until then, I would again reiterate my gratitude to the Vail Town Council for having the common sense and the fortitude to be united in finding an alternative location for this housing project and to, therefore, preserving the habitat of an iconic herd of sheep. The Vail sheep.