Keep terrain as it is

Dear Editor:

I am one of the former Burnt Mountain rangers and so am disappointed in what has happened on Burnt Mountain. Aspen Skiing Co. customers got sidecountry skiing while some of us locals lost a treasure.

The quiet beauty and solitude, the late afternoon light slanting through aspens and pines, the puffs of snow shimmering in the sunlight as it falls off tree branches in a light breeze. Or the magic silence of a snowy day up there. These experiences are lessened now with hooting and hollering and the noise of scraping skis and boards over moguls and hardpack, which were never encountered in years past.

I understand how people can claim that many people benefit from a sidecountry experience, a suggestion of a wilderness experience. But before Skico disturbed it, Burnt Mountain was more a real wilderness experience – and yet close to civilization – an accessible “pocket wilderness,” as one commenter called it. There was a mix of adventure, beauty and smooth, untracked riding.

Can you please do everything you can to keep Burnt Mountain roadless? As human incursions into wilderness or wild areas are taking place everywhere you look, I am sorry to see fragmentation and wilderness values diminishing. Should a person like I am just give up on trying to preserve wilderness or wilderness-like values? Should Skico customers have their pleasant wilderness-like experience without having to work a little bit for it, which would give them a more authentic sense of what wilderness is really like?

Can’t they have an enjoyable run on Burnt Mountain without having a manicured way out? Keep the black-diamond designation on Skico maps and signs. I say no road in this roadless area. Can the egress not be so wide and not so long and not so many trees cut down? Yes, the egress can be left much the way it is. Skico customers can now have the taste of the paradise back there. This already has been accomplished.

Now, enough, leave it alone. Don’t spoil the roadless quality. Keep the dense trees and all the unique aesthetic qualities that go with stands of dense trees. There is still a nice mix of treed areas and open parks on the mountain. But no more logging. A road as described in the proposal would ruin the character of this gem, this marvel of relatively undisturbed nature, the fabulous Burnt Mountain!

Thank you for considering my official comment on the matter of the egress.

James Stone