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Say no to Gems

Dear Editor:

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the most likely representative to endorse the Gems proposal and submit it to Congress, is holding three public forums: June 1 in Boulder at the Boulder Public Library; June 3 in Edwards at the Battlement High School Auditorium; and June 4 in Breckenridge at Colorado Mountain College Auditorium. He is asking for feedback regarding this proposal.

It is vital that we attend these meetings and express why this proposal is bad for our community. He must know that this small, privately funded, narrow-vision environmental group is not the voice of the majority as they claim. Remind him that none of the expertise of the U.S. Forest Service, mountain rescue, and local fire officials was utilized in preparing this proposal, just the wishes of special interest groups.

We must help him realize that environmental and economic impact studies have never been done and that public information and comment meetings on this proposal have been extremely limited. Motorized and mechanized recreation are areas of steady economic growth. Designating these areas Wilderness could cause undue economic hardship. Our ranchers, rescuers, firefighters and elderly would also suffer from effects of such an extreme designation.

The Hidden Gems proposal has no answer on how to manage and maintain the forest in regards to the high level of beetle kill and drought, and the potential fire storm that it might create. They have no plan or process whatsoever to implement, maintain and enforce a wilderness designation so large. There hasn’t been full disclosure of related impacts to our valley and surrounding areas. Wilderness Workshop has offered no proof that this level of protection is needed, only their opinion.

The Forest Service has the best plan and resources to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of our National Forests to meet the needs of present and future generations. This is public land specifically set aside for multiple use, and is maintained by our tax dollars. Let the majority voice be heard!

Nancy Williams

Glenwood Springs


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