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Letters to the editor

Peter Bergh

In my view, Eagle county commissioners Arn Menconi and Peter Runyon made a wise decision when they approved the sum of $6 million to be used towards the purchase of 72 acres of land in Edwards now referred to as the Eaton Ranch, provided that the Vail Valley Foundation can come up with an additional $6 million needed to close the deal.Many future generations will thank them for their vision as county residents and vacationers alike enjoy living in a county that has chosen a adopt a new policy of Smart Growth over the old policy of growth for growth’s sake. While it is true that the Edwards Sub-Area Master Plan shows this property to be zoned as relatively dense future commercial-residential, the plan is now outdated and was the product of an old paradigm which encouraged development for development’s sake. A new paradigm has been signaled by the re-election of Arn Menconi and the election of Peter Runyon to the two open seats on the Board of County Commissioners last November. Both men having run, and won, on a platform partially based on support for a policy of smart growth and setting reasonable limits to growth overall.This should come as no surprise to anyone, for two years ago when the state’s demographers predicted a doubling of the county’s population within about 25 years the howl of protest that went up could be heard as far away as Denver.Further, the town of Vail, the county’s 800 pound gorilla, years ago adopted an open space plan of its own which now protects something over a third of the town and growing. Enlightened self interest, to be sure, but if it is good enough for Vail, why not for Edwards and the rest of the county?Finally, there are perhaps a dozen or so remaining large parcels of land within sight of the I-70 corridor that rate a 10 in terms of their being desirable to keep as open space (the Eagle Valley Land Trust has the list if the Open Space Advisory Committee would be interested in seeing it), no sense reinventing the wheel here. If these parcels are not acquired within the next five to 10 years it is likely that they will be lost to development forever. Presently none are in play, but any one could come into play at any time. That is why it would be smart to let the voters decide whether it made sense, or not, to give the commissioners the authority to bond against future revenues from the open space tax, which is projected to yield in excess of $100 million over the course of its 25-year lifespan. In this way, whenever one of the 10s came on the market, the money would be there to buy and protect the land. Almost a no-brainer. Keep up the good work, Arn and Peter; and hats off to Harry Frampton and the VVF.Peter BerghEdwards Poor spendingI applaud your efforts to try and educated the populace to the fact we don’t need to spend millions on open space when there are measures in place to preserve the river corridor.John NicholsEagle-VailTarget shootingThe projected doubling of the Eagle County population, with the normal ratio of second-home owners and business development, might set a desirable mathematical goal to attain a ratio of open space to other projected development.Notable sustained historical growth of Eagle County probably started with the Vail Resort development in the decade of the 1960s.Open space considerations were becoming apparent to Vail when the early city limits were approaching 78 percent build-out in the late-1970s, according to the Vail Daily, when it was still only four or eight sides of double folded “mimeographed” pages.Setting suitable goals for the future acquisitions of open space, or easement purchases would be an approach of a corporate board of directors if a publicly owned company was planning for a desirable future environment around their property.The Eagle County open space advisory group may be ones to establish a target for yearly goals for new acquisitions.Then the possibility of a corporate gift, a family trust, or a charitable foundation being able to foresee such intended actions might allow prudent planning for designated matching fund campaigns similar to the Fiske Family Trust generosity in the Bair Ranch project. Hopefully the nature of that contribution has been fully acknowledged and appreciated by the county and its residents.At the least, in my opinion, future goals need to be looked at in the present time if the desired open space is ever to be accomplished, attempted, or even approached for consideration.Archery target shooting involves having a definite direction to point your arrow.Steve ZorichakVailWrong parcel!When I looked at the map that you printed with Rick Hermes’ letter to the Vail Valley Foundation, and our county commissioners, I was shocked! I thought, as did so many others, that the $6 million we were spending as taxpayers was going to preserve the open fields that surround the Eagle River. I didn’t realize what we were actually getting was torn-up gravel pit.This being the case, if Mr. Hermes wants to sit down with the commissioners and Mr. Frampton to figure out how to make this entire parcel work to everybody’s advantage, I say what are we waiting for? It seems to me like his group has already gone through some pretty detailed thinking about what to do with this land, and they’re open to more input from citizens and commissioners. The wetlands all along the river should be protected, the character of the land should be preserved, and the people of Eagle County should have a great piece of open space for future generations. And development can help pay for a lot of that – but it’s not going to happen if we at least don’t get everyone to the table.John BoeDust the beetlesI read with interest Cliff Thompson’s article on pine beetle-killed trees in the Feb. 4 Vail Daily. I have lived in Denver since 1936, and have had a condo at Sun Vail since 1983. I have watched with growing concern the devastation of the pine beetles over the years.I have taught in Germany many times, and they have had a similar problem there with pine beetles. They have solved the problem by dusting the infested forests with granite dust by helicopter. They claim the dust kills the beetles, and at the same time fertilizes the trees. I have twice written the Forest Service, and enclosed the German article about the procedure, but have had no response. Don’t they care?Harold MagounGreenwood VillageWhat are we?This letter is in response to Karl Berger’s letter about the comments of (CU professor) Ward Churchill. I find it interesting that Mr. Berger is so upset over the words of someone’s opinion and yet has the nerve to brag about his pride of his great American Western heritage. Remember, Mr. Berger, it was this great Western heritage that was responsible for nearly wiping out the entire Indian nation with violence, not words. So tell me, is this country a beacon of liberty or a beacon of hypocrisy.James WeichmannAvonBack in paradise!On any chairlift, my neighbors recognize my German accent right away and I am used to answering those same questions for many years: Why are you skiing in Vail? How is skiing in Europe compared to Vail? Is it true that there are ski areas much bigger then Vail?Just to make it short: After having seen the most of it, for me is Vail the best!Last winter because of an accident my wife had, I was not skiing in Vail like usual. I was back home in the Alps.What a difference! As you know, the grass seems to be always greener on the other side of the fence. For years I complained about the old quads and the even much older “Riblet chairlifts” in Vail, which looked to me like pieces out of a ski museum.I tell you one thing, I was wrong and I will not complain anymore! I promise. Well, maybe the old chair 10 or 9 is still too much for me, but the rest is perfect.What changed my mind? In Europe they have new lifts for six and now the heated chairs for eight! They installed cable cars for up to 120 people.I tell you, they put the people up the mountain by the busloads. As a result, there are no lift lines anymore. Instead the traffic jams happen now on the slopes. As those mountains did not grow bigger and the capacity of a ski slope is limited, at some places the density of skiers per square foot has grown 10 times larger than in the past.Don’t you prefer to stand in a well-organized lift line and have enough space for a nice run on the slopes? Vail did well. It enlarged the mountain, against many critic who said it was not necessary to open Blue Sky. They optimized the service. Today you don’t find any rocks on the slopes and my expensive ski equipment enjoys it! Vail grooming has been something special as long as Vail exists. And some years ago, they added the Yellow Jackets which may cost a lot, but the stupid wild downhill racing has almost disappeared. Yes, Vail has some of the most expensive day passes worldwide. Compared to Europe, it is about twice as high as the average ticket there. But would you prefer to have twice as many skiers on the slopes to pay half the price?I don’t! Less expensive ski resorts are easy to find, but it is the goal of Vail to be the top resort. The place for those who want something special, which means skiing like you may find only at a few places worldwide. Safety, space, service. That is the reason why I keep answering that Vail is the best.No, its not the champaign powder any more . Sorry, those days seem to be over. Its not the stores and restaurants. Sorry, I find the same or even better somewhere else. I also like the view of the spectacular peaks of the Alps much better then the gentle hills of the Rockies. But with the skiing and boarding, together with the great weather this area offers, Vail is unique.Where do you find a ski resort where you can ski every single day the whole season? No rain, no fog, no bad weather all season long and lots of sun and blue sky!It looks to me that slowly but constantly more and more, guests seem to find out what Vail has really to offer. The dawn of Vail seems to happen, thanks to the smart management of the ski mountain. And I agree completely with Don Rogers, who just mentioned what would the whole valley be without Vail? May I add, what would Vail be without this ski mountain? I am now a pretty old guy, but I recognize that I have gotten a life in paradise with my skis and with my snowboard. For more than 10 years almost every day I am out on the slopes and I calculated that I must have been over 800 days on Vail Mountain. That means over two years of constant skiing. Boring? No way! Never enough. My boarding still has to become better. I have been skiing for around 60 years and to try out all the new ski equipment is fascinating. Also to master those unfriendly speed gates at Golden Peak seems to be still kind of a goal.Even if some of the European ski areas are much bigger, its not the size, it is the quality. Those guys on Vail Mountain remind me sometimes of a good cooks. They don’t serve the same menu every day. They keep grooming new trails like East Poppyfields lately. Its fun not always to ski the same tracks and it needs the little extra care, what makes all the difference.Thank you guys for taking good care of “my ski mountain. I recognize and respect it.Otto WiestVail, Colorado


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