Connect the mountains | AspenTimes.com

Connect the mountains

Dear Editor:Paul Andersen’s latest column caught my attention – especially the line, “in most years there are more deer and elk killed on Colorado highways than during the hunting season.”This column is about applauding building a wildlife bridge over a highway to improve the habitat. I agree with Paul (and Paul, I want this data).I am a “connect-the-mountains” guy. One who believes that linking Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands (and Aspen Mountain if we can) with gondolas makes sense not just from a resort perspective, but, more importantly also from a quality of life/community perspective and an environmental perspective. There are many conflicting opinions on the impacts of a gondola line on an elk herd. Each side chooses its experts and the battle commences, both have good arguments, and the data (no matter what either side tells you) is not conclusive. The fight always comes down to a subjective assessment of aggregate impacts vs. benefits (yes, there are benefits) that each side spins as objective. One of the many points on the pro-gondola side is that fewer cars on the roads in the winter, when deer and elk are in the valleys (not on the ridgelines where the gondolas are running), can only be regarded as a positive environmental move.Yes, Mr. Shoemaker will be quick to offset that positive with his take of a more egregious impact that offsets the benefit, but at the end of the day any environmentalist has to admit that taking cars off the roads in the winter is good for the wildlife. Thanks Paul, for indirectly pointing that out.Getting people out of cars (or shortening their trips) with incentives is admittedly a novel idea in this community, but could it be that the net effect would be good for all concerned, including the wildlife?Scott WriterOld Snowmass

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