Vail Daily letter: Vote for Donovan, Udall |

Vail Daily letter: Vote for Donovan, Udall

When I came here in 1962, Eagle County was a paradise. The then-little start-up town of Vail gave us a place to live while we hiked, skied, fished and hunted in the hills, forests and high mountain wilderness areas.

We ran into occasional cowboys. We admired them. They were a big part of the traditional West. I discovered later working with the cattlemen that they had learned from several generations of using the land how to take care of it. Their success depends on healthy grazing lands.

There were places in Eagle County where miners built towns and tore up the ground looking for gold but the ore played out and much of the damage has healed over. These ghost towns are mostly curiosities now, but 30 some years ago the largest mining operation in the world was proposed near Parachute and that never would have healed over. We stopped that, too.

There have been more recent threats to our paradise.

Some early Vail investors wanted to see I-70 go through the middle of the Eagles Nest Wilderness in order to cut 15 minutes off the time going to and from Denver to Vail. In the late ’50s, Jack Tweedy, Pete Seibert, and others lobbied the highway people to have I-70 come over Vail Pass rather than through Steamboat Springs. None of us anticipated what problems that would bring.

The Denver Water Board told us they were going to take the flood waters out of Gore Creek and into the Dillon Reservoir. We told them no and stopped them. Then we created the first minimum stream flow law in the West that allowed water to be claimed in the stream for environmental purposes.

The U. S. Forest Service decided to open up the Piney area and East Meadow Creek to logging right on the edge of the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Again, we said no and the little town of Vail initiated the first successful lawsuit against the Forest Service.

Our paradise is a paradise because of the federal lands. They are our playground and a major part of out economic viability. They attract visitors from all across the nation. Unfortunately, there are others who see these lands as opportunities for exploitation, like the Koch brothers, gas drillers, and some East Slope developers who would dearly love to have more West Slope water diverted east.

It is a constant battle and we must be vigilant. All of you that have arrived in recent years will have to join the fight if you want this place where you play, and stay fit, to survive. Cory Gardner and Don Suppes are the enemy. They are in the pockets of the exploiters who want to ruin our paradise.

That’s why you have to vote and vote for Mark Udall and Kerry Donovan. They are a good part of the reason why we still have this paradise, and you can count on them to help protect it in the future.

Roger Brown

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