Letter: Protecting Vail’s bighorns is the right thing to do
As residents of Vail, we believe Vail Resorts should not be allowed to build employee housing in the Booth Heights area. While we are aware of how serious the need is, there may be more suitable locations closer and more convenient to our town.
On a recent drive to the area, my wife and I turned up Katsos Ranch Road and to our amazement encountered the herd of bighorn sheep. I counted 37 of them peacefully grazing on the hillside oblivious to us and even a neighbor who drove up and said he has seen as many as 70 or so.
As we watched, two backcountry skiers were walking east on Frontage Road below us. They were accompanied by a small, black and white sheep dog. As they approached, every bighorn sheep stopped eating and turned toward that dog as it walked past one-fourth of a mile or so below them. Even though we were closer, they didn’t care about us. Surprising. But, that dog was a real concern!
With the housing units planned for Booth Heights, I’m sure dogs and other pets will come as well, all of whom will have a serious impact on the bighorn sheep.
We believe the area should be protected. We are pleased the town is considering purchasing Booth Heights from Vail Resorts and taking condemnation action. To protect what’s left of the bighorn sheep habitat is the right thing to do. They are incredible creatures and part of the beauty of Vail. We’d hate to see them lost.
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Jeff and Judy Lovelace