Coyotes were here first
Dear Editor:My heart truly goes out to the Jelineks, whom I personally know to be generous longtime members of this community and who love their dogs. I have pets that are my family. I would be devastated to see any of them brutally killed before my eyes – Richard and Debbie, I am so sorry that happened to you. I think the Jelineks clearly stated they are not campaigning for the destruction of the coyotes on Smuggler. By telling their story it was a warning and expression of concern for community safety. I believe the coyotes should be left alone to hunt and survive in what is their habitat and what happened was not anyone’s fault.After considering the leash laws, wildlife, environment, “Aspen lifestyle,” and politics of DOW and Pitkin County Open Space & Trails, I am strongly of the opinion that the trails and wilderness areas of Aspen have been egregiously politicized for economic gain and grossly mismanaged for the benefit of few. There is a deep divide that separates opinions regarding human access and use of wilderness areas, how it is managed, and who financially gains from the operation. It will always be a heated debate. But certainly, the misleading image and political spin regarding the processes of OST and DOW need to stop. To the many who are concerned that the coyotes will be targeted by DOW and OST – please stay concerned. But also understand how this encounter was so unexpected.DOW and OST have turned our trails and wildness areas into Aspen’s Grand Central Parks and cushiest tax-paid jobs. These areas have been so glammed with graded road base, benches, signage, rock removal, tree removal, wildlife control, dog control, water control, control, control, control, and to top it off, uniformed-bike-riding-ticket-writing-rangers. We just cannot understand why there isn’t a lemonade stand at the top of each trail! Oh wait, you can ride your bike at Mach 1 to the Tavern on a pseudo-multi-use trail, and never mind pedestrians or their dogs. The last time I walked on Hunter Creek trail I was floored by having to wait in a traffic jam caused by a family in which the teenage son was texting, the father was on his cellular phone and the mother was trying to keep up with her youngsters while complaining that she wore the wrong $250 sandals. A few years ago, this unsuspecting woman would have known the moment she stepped in the mud and traversed the rocks amidst the flowing stream that she was footwear deficient for this task.Now, with all the “pretty” boardwalks and signs that lead to Hunter Creek’s Disneyland entrance, how could she know there may be significant dangers, including wild, uncontrolled animals. Misguided land stewardship leaves people with an image that these areas are mundane, tamed parkways with a few trees and maybe the need for sunblock. Stop misleading people into the lion’s den. Keep the trails free, authentic, and much more honest to their natural state so people understand what they may encounter.M. van SuchtelenAspen
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