Skico turns its back on environment |

Skico turns its back on environment

(This letter was originally addressed to Aspen Skiing Co. Vice President of Planning Bill Kane.)Dear Editor:It is very disturbing to read that the Aspen Skiing Co. is now considering turning its back on environmental issues, and not honoring their former agreement with the Forest Service in 1994 to protect the elk, wildlife and important calving grounds on Burnt Mountain just east of Elk Camp. Two wildlife experts have criticized the Skico’s plan to open Elk Camp at Snowmass Ski Area for two biking trails, two hiking trails and one equestrian trail. This is a tremendous amount of activity in an area which has always in the past been held off-limits by the ski company in the summer. The Skico has gone back on its agreement to preserve this area as needed wildlife habitat, not only for the elk, but also for other sensitive species that need this specific habitat.This is the last migratory corridor between Elk Camp and West Buttermilk. Once the trails are opened, the elk will stay away, their numbers will be reduced, and our wildlife will continue to decrease in numbers annually with the unnecessary introduction of human intrusion.There are plenty of existing trails on which we can all recreate, but to allow a gondola to go to the top of the mountain where a trail is readily available for downhill bikers, horseback riders and hikers is asking for irreversible damage to our wildlife.The Skico should honor its former agreements and walk the talk of being green. If it does not, unfortunately all the goodwill the Skico has tried to create will rapidly erode with these poor choices and continual degradation to our environment and White River National Forest. The Skico certainly does not need this gondola for summer activities to be financially profitable.I urge you to keep to your former commitments, and abandon this expansion on Burnt Mountain for summer activities.Junee KirkAspen

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