Letter: Congrats Vail Resorts, now preserve sheep habitat
A recent Vail Daily article recognized that Vail Resorts has been awarded the 2019 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence by the National Ski Areas Association for “Commitment to Zero,” its environmental sustainability program. Congratulations are in order. Receiving this award is an honor, considering steps taken by competing resorts across the country to preserve and protect the environment and habitats. The article further points out that VR has dedicated millions of dollars to purchase wind energy and has hired a partner to work toward zero waste. These admirable efforts cover two of the three pillars of “Commitment to Zero.”
The third pillar is “zero net operating impact on forests and habitat.” While working to shift to wind energy and minimize waste, VR is working with a developer to build a large workforce housing project on pristine land near the East Vail exit that until recently was thought to be open space owned by the town of Vail or the Colorado Department of Transportation. Currently this site provides a pastoral and inviting welcome at Vail’s east portal. Further, this land is critical winter habitat for a threatened herd of bighorn sheep and other wildlife.
We all agree that workforce housing is important but this is the wrong site for a high-density development for variety of reasons that I won’t elaborate on here. Why not form a coalition including VR, the town of Vail and private entities to identify alternate and better-suited sites for workforce housing and preserve this gift of land for generations of people and wildlife to enjoy into the future? If all parties work together toward creative solutions, the East Vail entry can remain a beautiful, inviting and welcoming site and can help preserve sheep habitat.