Hidden agenda | AspenTimes.com

Hidden agenda

Dear Editor:

I would like to expose some truth concerning the Hidden Gems proposal. If the Hidden Gems proposal was to pass it would close forever all snowmobile, motorcycle, ATV, hunting, jeep, and even some mountain biking access in the Piney Lake, Muddy Pass (Wolcott), Lake Creek, Castle Peak, and Sylvan Lake areas in Eagle County alone. This means that people who are physically unable to hike high altitude mountain terrain will never be able to access these great areas again. This also means a very sharp decline in income from hunting permits, OHV permits, hotels bookings and dining in the Vail Valley.

If you take a look at a map of the Vail Valley and ask yourself what would we have left for our favorite activities if Hidden Gems were passed you would see that currently the south (Vail) side of I-70 is already National Forest meaning no motorized vehicle access and hunting all the way down to Wolcott. The north side of I-70 is also National Forest with some BLM access but BLM has already begun taking trails from us, mainly in the Piney Lake and Berry Creek areas which was one of the favorite areas for Vail Valley locals. So that takes us to Eagle, Gypsum and McCoy.

Riding from Eagle to Basalt would be closed forever. In McCoy we would lose access to the early and late season riding and hunting. You can ride McCoy in the spring when the mountain is still open and in the fall when the snow is beginning to fall. McCoy is a great way to get away from the long cold days of winter – it sure beats driving all the way to Moab.

So in closing I think the Hidden Gems proposal should be called “Hidden Agenda,” for environmental extremists in Washington, D.C. Hidden Gems is no good for Vail Valley locals, out of state hunters, OHV, the economy and anyone who loves driving their Jeep in the mountains, and high altitude elk, bear and deer hunting.

I moved to the Vail Valley to play in the mountains year around and not to be kicked out by environmental extremists in Washington, D.C.

Be sure to write your congressman, senator and county commissioners and tell them you enjoy playing in the mountains and would like to keep it that way. And remember Hidden Gems is unfair to people who are physically disabled.

Thanks for reading and remember Hidden Gems is selfish, inconsiderate and self-righteous. Public land should be for the public, not taken from the public.

Jerry McRae


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