Vail Daily letter: Protecting our lands
The 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships focuses the world’s eyes on our scenic lands. People can see what a beautiful place we are fortunate to live in. What they don’t see is that we work to protect these lands so that it remains beautiful for the future.
Thanks to many citizens working hard over the past 10 years, the Rocky Mountain Recreation and Wilderness Preservation Act was introduced last Congress by Rep. Jared Polis and aimed to protect 60,000 acres in Summit and eastern Eagle counties. The proposal would add wilderness to the Holy Cross, Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Ridge Wilderness areas, and create new wilderness areas at Williams Fork, Hoosier Ridge and the Tenmile Range. Many of these areas are in the views we see from the tops of Vail and Beaver Creek mountains.
Safeguarding these areas with wilderness protection will ensure our reputation as an outdoor recreation haven. The areas in the proposal are part of the White River National Forest, which has more than 9 million visitors a year. These visitors spend their money at local businesses. In fact, outdoor recreation generates $13.2 billion a year in Colorado and is responsible for 125,000 jobs that pay $4.2 billion in wages.
As the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships come to Vail, I invite all who live here and visit during this time to remember and be willing to advocate also for the vision and value of protecting this paradise for another 50, 100, 200 years. Be a guardian of this exceptional place where increased protection of wild lands today ensures clean water and air, healthy wildlife and forests for the future and where anyone in the world would still consider this a paradise.