More to Smuggler plan than article reveals |

More to Smuggler plan than article reveals

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is the primary project proponent of the Hunter-Smuggler Cooperative Plan. Monday’s Aspen Times article “Time to make comments on Smuggler plan” did not accurately characterize the full suite of improvements the plan proposes.

Recreational enhancements are among many recommendations outlined in the plan. The plan’s priorities focus heavily on benefits to forest ecological health, wildlife-habitat improvements, environmental-education opportunities and wildfire management. Creating more robust and productive habitat through an array of proposed projects also will ease potential conflicts between wildlife and recreation.

The two-year cooperative approach undertaken to produce this plan represents a new way of doing business whereby diverse stakeholders work together prior to the costly National Environmental Policy Act process. This is critical to addressing the ability of the Forest Service to be a good steward of the land given current budgetary restraints.

This represents real community-building; it’s hard work, but this kind of stewardship results in the best possible outcome for the land and the people who use it.

Chris Lane, CEO

Jamie Cundiff, forest programs director

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies