Stand firm, support the Gems
Pitkin County has a long tradition of strong environmental ethics generally and especially preserving and protecting lands within its borders. An informative meeting was held recently in which representatives of the Wilderness Workshop met with the Pitkin County commissioners to explain where the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal currently stood and the elaborate steps taken to arrive there.
The commissioners heard how the Workshop met and negotiated with many groups to take their concerns into consideration, and how the Workshop had removed more than half the lands in Pitkin County from the original proposal to accommodate those concerns.
The process of protecting public lands is inevitably lengthy and unavoidably contentious. No question. However, the case has been well made for the need to protect midlevel habitat so that they remain wild for future generations. The longer the wait, the more difficult it will be. It certainly takes courage, vision and leadership for our commissioners to stand firm, upholding a tradition that has made the Roaring Fork Valley so special.
I urge all of the commissioners to find the strength and wisdom to support the Hidden Gems proposal, to do what they believe is right.
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Pitkin County administrators are proposing a more than $142 million budget for 2020, which is about $6 million less than this year because of fewer construction projects and capital improvements.