Hidden Gems debate heats up in Pitkin County commissioners’ e-mail
September 8, 2009
ASPEN – Pitkin County commissioners are tentatively scheduled to hear a presentation on the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign in November. In the meantime, they’re getting a cyberspace earful on the topic.
Commissioners reported Tuesday receiving loads of e-mails – mostly from people who are opposed to the expansion of Colorado wilderness areas, and mostly from people outside of Pitkin County.
All of the correspondence that comes to the county is being compiled, and shared with Sen. Mark Udall’s office, according to Commissioner Patti Clapper, who offered to check with Rep. John T. Salazar’s office to see if the congressman would also like to be copied on the e-mails.
The Hidden Gems campaign, which will seek congressional approval for added wilderness in western Colorado, has mapped various proposed areas in the Roaring Fork Valley and elsewhere. In all, between 400,000 and 450,000 acres of public land would gain wilderness protection if the effort is successful. Those who advocate uses that aren’t allowed in wilderness – mountain biking, motorized uses and even the use of power drills to set climbing hardwear – are fighting components of the initiative. Proposed wilderness lines are being redrawn as the campaign works with those user groups.
“There are a lot of misunderstandings out there on all sides,” said Commissioner Patti Clapper.
Commissioners are tentatively scheduled to hear a presentation on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
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Go to http://www.whiteriverwild.org for more on the campaign.