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Got wildlife?

Dear Editor:

Skeptics might consider the words “dishonest politician” somewhat redundant. I like to believe that dishonesty remains the exception rather than the rule in politics, and that with our new national leadership we may see a whole new era in political integrity and honesty. Meanwhile, we still need to deal with those few exceptions, starting right here at home.

When the RFTA board, comprised largely of local politicians, was trying to gain support for their construction of a bike trail through extremely sensitive and critical wildlife habitat, they made many promises about protecting this wildlife. In defense of their “Adaptive Wildlife Management Plan,” which wildlife advocates criticized for its lack of solid and permanent protection of wildlife, they reiterated these promises and assured the public that their ability to vary the length of seasonal closures for wildlife protection would be used only to protect wildlife and never be used to favor recreation.



It rapidly became apparent that at least one or two of our local politicos never had any intention of keeping any of these promises they helped promote. Even though the Division of Wildlife, the Audubon Society and RFTA’s own wildlife biologist have recommended increasing the seasonal closures to better protect the wintering deer, elk and bald eagles, and to help restore our valley’s largest blue heron rookery that was displaced by this trail, one or two RFTA board members are actively lobbying to drop all promises and all closures to sacrifice the remaining wildlife in favor of recreational use. Come by the RFTA board meeting at Carbondale Town Hall on Thursday morning to see who these folks are. Public comment starts at 8:30 and wildlife discussion at 9.

Fortunately, it appears that enough of the RFTA board remains sufficiently committed to honesty, or to wildlife preservation (hopefully both) to keep the remaining wildlife at least somewhat protected for the time being. Unfortunately, the RFTA board will be under tremendous and ever-increasing pressure from recreation interests and the tourist industry in general to sacrifice this remaining wildlife.




If you have any interest in helping to protect wildlife, this is an important time to get involved. Protecting wildlife is very easy and totally unnecessary when it’s universally popular. The only time wildlife really need protection is when it’s locally unpopular to do so. Got elk?

Jim Duke

Carbondale


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