A transplant’s view | AspenTimes.com

A transplant’s view

(This letter was originally sent to the Roadless Areas Review Task Force that will hold a meeting in Glenwood Springs on June 21.)Dear Editor:I was originally a visitor to Colorado – for over 30 years, enjoying skiing in the Rocky Mountains during the winter and camping, hiking and exploring state parks, state and national forests, and national monuments in the summer. Upon retirement six years ago, I was able to relocate from Michigan and become a Colorado resident. As a “transplant” I truly appreciate what unique natural wonders abound in the public lands in this area and am saddened to think that they might not be preserved for all to enjoy in the future.Since I have become a resident of the Carbondale area:- I have become an avid hiker with the 100 Club of Glenwood Springs. Our weekly spring, summer and fall treks – especially in the roadless areas around the Roaring Fork Valley and the Flat Tops – have made me even more aware of the beauty and great variety of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and mountain streams, lakes and rivers that support so many different birds, large and small animals, and fish, some of which are unique to the White River National Forest.- I have become aware of the need for maintaining adequate, clean, unpolluted, potable water resources for humans and livestock in our area, the sources of which come from the snowmelt and streams that originate in the White River National Forest roadless areas.- I have met neighbors and have friends and acquaintances who not only enjoy a variety of recreational pursuits in the White River National Forest but whose livelihood depends on the multitude of visitors who come there to hunt, fish, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, four-wheel, bicycle, hike, and horseback ride in our current roadless areas.- I see the number of elk, deer and other wild animals killed on our highways as their migration corridors and habitat are disrupted by road building, particularly by oil and gas development, on private and public lands.The White River National Forest is the most visited national forest in our entire country. As tourism and recreation bring billions of dollars into Colorado each year from visitors to our national forests, why would one want to diminish this contribution to our state economy? And though it may be more difficult to assign a dollar value, protected roadless areas are vital to help maintain the healthy national forest ecology which sustains our state’s wildlife, native plant species, and to help prevent human caused wildfires.I ask the task force to recommend that Gov. Owens fully protect not only all of the White River National Forest’s current roadless areas, but all of Colorado’s roadless areas.Sylvia WendrowCarbondale

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