Open space worth funding | AspenTimes.com

Open space worth funding

Dear Editor:For better or worse, the fate of our mountain landscape will be largely decided by this generation. In this age of Enron, open land is too often treated as a crass commodity, traded without regard to the mind/body and spirit of a community. Yet despite these unprecedented pressures, the hard work of protecting private land is beginning to get done, parcel by parcel, by counties, cities and local land trusts in our state, with the vision to make an investment now. Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails Board has been a leader in this regard, and has wisely acquired public lands such as Smuggler Mountain and Filoha Meadows, has bought development rights off several square miles of productive ranchland/habitat from Old Snowmass to Jerome Park, and has created trails that now link Aspen, Snowmass, and Basalt.As a community, we should be proud. These open spaces and trails reveal what is, perhaps, most dear in our relationship with this impeccable landscape. But, the work is not done. Open lands that provide clean air, unspoiled vistas and habitat are still threatened on a scale that could yet significantly degrade the valley.Neighborhoods, such as Lazy Glen, are still cut off from trails, forcing residents into their cars when a bike would provide a healthier trip to town. We do not have reliable Nordic trail funding to continue human powered transport and recreation through the winter months. And, the water in our rivers can still be bought and exported to distant cities. With your help, the Pitkin County Open Space program can address these challenges. Please support Pitkin County ballot question 1B.Dale WillCarbondale(Editor’s note: Dale Will is the director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails)

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