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Letters to the editor

Markian Feduschak

Gore Range Natural Science School has much to be grateful for this time of year: our incredibly giving community; the tremendous December snowfall; an opportunity to expand our winter programs; and, the continued support of Vail Resorts, an instrumental partner at the Nature Discovery Center atop Vail Mountain. Gore Range Natural Science School naturalists kicked off a new winter season at the Nature Discovery Center on Dec. 13 and celebrated many facility improvements that were made possible by Vail Resorts and Bill Jensen. We’d like to also thank Luke Cartin, environmental coordinator at Vail, for spearheading and implementing these exciting changes, which have significantly improved our visitors’ experiences inside the yurt. Hundreds of ski school students visit the Discovery Center each season to learn about winter ecology, animal tracks and signs, and Vail life zones. We’re delighted to provide these students with a more comfortable and welcoming atmosphere to explore the natural world. I’d also like to recognize the White River National Forest, who is another key partner in the success of the Nature Discovery Center. This winter we’re partnering with the White River National Forest to provide weekly guided snowshoe explorations that depart from Spraddle Creek, Meadow Mountain and Vail Pass trailheads. Each program focuses on a different topic, and you can learn more about these and our expanded Nature Discovery Center programming at the Gore Range Web site: http://www.gorerange.org. Thanks to all our partners for making the Nature Discovery Center a resounding success, year after year. We look forward to another outstanding season together. Markian FeduschakExecutive DirectorGore Range Natural Science School Some pointsNicole Frey, I am writing to correct some misstated facts in your article “Lynx linger, but not in Blue Sky Basin” in the Dec. 21 Vail Daily. We did not sue twice. We administratively appealed within the Forest Service the first time, attempting to get a higher officer within the Forest Service to overturn the forest supervisor’s decision to approve the expansion. We won that appeal, then the Forest Service issued another decision, which we appealed and lost. (Administrative appeals are within an agency, in this case, the Forest Service. They do not go into the federal court system. Exhaustion of administrative appeals is necessary before going to court.) We then sued the Forest Service in federal district court. We lost there, and appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where we also lost. Thus we only sued once, with one appeal.I apologize for not making this more clear in my interview with you. However, the subheadline “Vail donates, Colorado Wild sues” is blatant editorializing in a news story and is therefore inappropriate.You cite me as saying that “lodgepole pine offers food for animals.” What I think I said or at last meant to say is that young conifers, including lodgepole pine, which existed in the expansion area, are good winter forage for snowshoe hare, which is the chief prey of lynx. Much of the small lodgepole in the expansion area area was destroyed to make ski runs.Your article does reflect the point I made about the current omnipresence of people degrading or ruining whatever lynx habitat was there previously. Thus one would not expect to see lynx in Blue Sky Basin. I disagree with assertions by the Forest Service that the habitat was not very good for lynx and that construction and operation of Blue Sky Basin did little to damage it. A 1989 study confirmed lynx presence in the general vicinity of Vail Ski Area, and that likely included the Category III expansion area that is now Blue Sky Basin.Rocky SmithDouble talk It is amusing to hear double talk from the sport hunting industry and its governmental right-hand, the Division of Wildlife. Most of the time, sport hunters are telling us they are doing everybody a favor by controlling “dangerous” deer and elk populations. Now, the big news in the Vail Daily is that wildlife herds are losing ground and shrinking in numbers, and the sport hunting industry, along with the DOW, are coming to the rescue by charging sport hunters and fishermen $5, and nonhunters $10, as a land use fee, to buy land in a county surrounded by the vast Holy Cross Wilderness and even more vast White River National Forest.The truth is stated right in the article, “Groups hope the money will keep the industry making lots of money.” It is obvious to even the most obtuse observer that deer and elk hunting is not about wildlife population control, except to the extent that it makes the industry money and more sport hunters can experience the self-centered, thrill of the kill of animals as innocent and harmless as the family dog.Dan Cudahy Avon Vail, Colorado


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