Time for U.S. Forest Service officials to say ‘no’ to Berlaimont Estates road project (letter)
Dear editor and Eagle County residents: I believe it is time for the Forest Service to “just say no” to the outrageous request by Berlaimont’s developer to build a 4½-mile paved road through National Forest land to property totally surrounded by national forest above Edwards, north of Interstate 70.
They purchased knowing this in-holding’s only access was a seasonally open dirt road, yet they have this year launched their request to the U.S. Forest Service for public land on which to build a year-round access road so that they can sell sites for 19 “estates.”
Based on a Forest Service-hosted public meeting Aug. 15, 2018, and the agency’s own reports on record-setting numbers of public comments received opposing the proposal, as well response to local petitions to the Forest Service against the proposal, numerous private discussions and letters to the paper, there is overwhelming sentiment against allowing Berlaimont’s owners to build such a road on public land.
These generally south-facing slopes of the national forest are also described by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials as critical winter habitat for our already stressed and declining deer and elk herds. On Tuesday, Oct. 16, recently retired CPW officer Bill Andree updated for Vail Town Council survey data on herd decline and commented that the elk herd north of I-70 is now severely affected, as well as the one on the south.
It makes no sense to now add to the stresses on wildlife by allowing such a road to be constructed, with big curves to ease the gradient, across this habitat. These herds are an attraction for visitors and hunters, both sources of big revenue in Eagle County.
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In the face of such opposition, and with such dire consequences for the very wildlife that they are supposed to be protecting, why would Forest Service officials not say “no” to this ridiculous request?